USA to unveil revised self-driving vehicle guidelines

The "Self Drive Act" approved by voice vote "will help pave the way for self-driving cars nationwide and ensures America stays a global leader in innovation", said a tweet from Representative Greg Walden, who chairs the House panel that drafted the bill. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is scheduled to release revised self-driving guidelines during a speech next Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The bill will next go up for a vote in the Senate, which will debate how self-driving vehicles will affect everything from jobs to congestion.

"With this legislation, innovation can flourish without the heavy hand of government", Ohio Republican Bob Latta said on the House floor ahead of the voice vote in the chamber September 6.

Indeed, safety is a growing priority as today's roads become more and more congested.

Under the House proposal, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but could not set self-driving auto performance standards. A separate autonomous vehicle bill is in the works in the U.S. Senate, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reportedly announcing updated self-driving guidelines next week. It could allow for as many as 100,000 such vehicles a year to be exempted from certain safety standards while the technology is developing.

Automakers and tech companies have warned of a potential patchwork of rules, where 50 states deliver 50 different sets of rules for self-driving vehicles.

The House bill exempts a limited number of self-driving cars from federal rules.

President Donald Trump's administration is set to unveil revised self-driving vehicle guidelines next week in MI, responding to automakers' calls for elimination of legal barriers to putting autonomous vehicles on the road, sources briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The Senate is now working on a similar bill, which they must reconcile with the House bill before it can be passed.

Some automakers have protested in the recent past that states' proposed rules on self-driving cars are too prohibitive-especially California.

Automakers raised numerous concerns about the Obama administration guidance, including the suggestion that automakers should submit systems to regulators for review before putting them on the market.

  • Eleanor Harrison