The Senate released bipartisan legislation last week that would provide the first federal laws governing the driverless car industry.
The bill is authored by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.). It seeks to help the car industry speed up deployment of autonomous technology by waiving traditional safety standards for up to 100,000 vehicles per manufacturer after three years.
“This legislation proposes common sense changes in law to keep pace with advances in self-driving technology,” Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said.
“By playing a constructive role in the development of self-driving transportation systems, our government can help save lives, improve mobility for all Americans — including those with disabilities, and create new jobs by making us leaders in this important technology,” he said.
The bill will come before the Commerce Committee for a markup on Oct. 4.
The bill does not address self-driving trucks, a major point of contention for lawmakers.
Trucking unions were concerned that changes would affect employment while industry groups argued that cars and trucks should be covered by the same framework.
Thune and other Republicans had pushed to include trucking in the Senate bill, while Peters and Democrats wanted to keep the bill car-focused.
The legislation is titled The American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act.
“Chairman Thune and I have worked closely together for months to craft this bipartisan legislation, and today’s introduction is a momentous step toward ensuring that Michigan and the United States continue to lead the world in automotive innovation that keeps our country economically competitive,” Peters said in a statement.
The Department of Transportation would have the authority over setting safety standards for the industry, overriding a patchwork of varying state laws.
State and local authorities will continue to govern traffic safety, vehicle registration and law enforcement issues.