Bill to allow testing driverless autonomous cars awaits Snyder's approval

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 7:39pm

Michigan Senate bills 995-998, which would allow companies to test autonomous cars on Michigan roads without drivers, are now awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) approval.

The legislation passed overwhelmingly in both the state Senate and House last Thursday, with just two lawmakers, State Reps. Ray Franz (R–Onekama) and LaTanya Garrett (D–Detroit) opposing it, according to the Detroit News.

Michigan is one of just eight states that currently have laws that allow testing of autonomous cars.

The laws are particularly relevant to the University of Michigan because of MCity, the world's first controlled vehicle test site designed to research and refine automated vehicle technology. According to a Nov. 15 University press release, new open connected and automated research vehicles based at MCity will advance driverless research.

It is likely Snyder will sign the bills into law as he and his administration have been committed to driverless car innovation in Michigan. In 2013, Snyder signed the first driverless car legislation into law, Senate Bill 169, which allowed automakers to test autonomous vehicles as long as a human was in the car, according to a press release.  

Currently, Snyder is in Shanghai, visiting Shanghai International Automobile City, a production base that focuses on testing and researching autonomous vehicles.

“Michigan has always been the automotive industry leader, and as the transportation industry evolves, our state’s influence will continue to shape the way the world moves,” Snyder said in a press release on his first day of his China mission.