The bill, which needs Senate approval before being sent to the White House, would prevent states from imposing regulations on autonomous vehicles that would make it more hard for manufacturers to deploy self-driving cars nationwide.
The so-called SELF-DRIVE ACT would allow tech companies, automakers, and startups-a diverse group that includes Google's Waymo, Audi, GM, Ford, Tesla, as well as startups such as Aurora Innovation, NuTonomy, and Drive.ai-to put as many as 100,000 autonomous vehicles on the road annually. That said, allowing such vehicles to be tested on public roads even without meeting the same safety standards as the other cars on the road could be a recipe for disaster.
The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, an association that includes automakers Ford and Volvo as well as tech firms seeking to deploy autonomous vehicles such as former Google auto unit Waymo, Uber and Lyft, welcomed the passage.
And, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspectors.
The legislations is aimed at giving auto manufacturers an edge in developing and rolling out new self-driving vehicle technologies here in the United States, but the freedoms it provides may be a cause for concern. Nevertheless, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose department runs the NHTSA, will be revealing the updated guidelines at an event next Tuesday in MI, according to Reuters. The bill, which had bipartisan appeal, now moves on to the Senate, where a bipartisan group is working on separate self-driving-car legislation.
The new guidelines are expected to be in line with what several automakers who called upon the Trump administration last November, to rethink and change. A bipartisan group of USA senators working on similar legislation has not introduced a bill. State rules proposed for autonomous cars in California are considered too strict, though. It may turn out that hacking of self-driving cars is a greater threat to safety than the self-driving systems that make autonomous cars possible in the first place. Automakers would also be required to provide regulators with safety assessments, but unlike in the Obama Administration guidelines, makers wouldn't need approval of new technologies in advance.