Self-driving cars could be on the road sooner than you think

Daimler Bosch autonomous car partnership

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a sweeping proposal to speed deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles.

The Coalition is grateful for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's bipartisan leadership on the SELF DRIVE Act, and we look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to enact autonomous vehicle legislation that enhances safety, creates new mobility opportunities, and facilitates innovation.

As The Drive reported earlier this morning, the Self Drive Act allows companies like Waymo, Uber, General Motors, and Ford to push out 25,000 autonomous cars per year that don't comply with current passenger auto safety regulations-you know, like having a steering wheel, or accelerator and brake pedals. The goal of the "Self Drive Act" is to establish a federal framework for the regulation of self-driving cars. 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. Those rules encouraged autonomous vehicle developers to make sure cars meet a 15-point checklist of safety expectations, and undergo regulatory reviews before hitting the market. Essentially, the federal government will regulate the cars, and the states will regulate the drivers.

Automakers could introduce 25,000 self-driving cars that don't meet existing auto standards in the first year.

The bill doesn't apply to commercial vehicles, which were carved out after labor unions expressed concern that self-driving trucks would eliminate jobs. The cap would rise over three years to 100,000 vehicles annually.

The bill isn't law yet, and there's still a (very slim) chance it could be shot down before it gets final approval, but for now it appears to be headed for the books.

The bill mandates that all manufacturers of self-driving cars develop a cybersecurity plan that includes a process for detecting and responding to cyberattacks, mitigating vulnerabilities to attacks, and taking preventative and corrective action when necessary.

The Trump administration meanwhile will put its first formal stamp on autonomous vehicle policy when the U.S. Transportation Department releases updated deployment guidance later this month.

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