Governor signs autonomous vehicle legislation

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DEARBORN, Mich. — Governor Rick Snyder on Friday signed a package of bills that modernize guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation and keep Michigan at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

Public Acts 332-335 of 2016 update Michigan’s current laws regarding autonomous vehicle testing to allow “real world” testing and operation to determine the technology needed to safely introduce these vehicles into the marketplace.

State Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, sponsor of PAs 332 and 333, has remained at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to autonomous vehicles for some time.

“Autonomous vehicle technology is here, and with these new guidelines in place, Michigan, the home of the automobile, will remain the worldwide leader in automotive research and development,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “The development of autonomous vehicles had the potential not only to bolster our state economy significantly, but to greatly reduce the number of auto accidents and make the nation’s roads safer.”

The new laws specify that as technology emerges, companies will be able to operate a driverless vehicle on public roads so long as an operator is able to supervise and control the vehicle. The measures also establish standards that these vehicles must adhere to. These include requirements for data collection and feedback from crashes from autonomous vehicles that are members of a fleet so that information can be used to further advance the technology and ensure that they are safe for consumer use.

In addition, the laws authorize the creation of the American Center for Mobility at the abandoned Willow Run facility. The repurposed 300-acre lot is expected to serve a vital role in Michigan’s research and development surrounding autonomous vehicles. The redevelopment is expected to be a boost for the economies of surrounding communities.

Leading technology and ridesharing companies are working with Michigan’s Big Three and other automakers to further develop driverless technology. Seven other states along with Washington D.C. have a policy or have introduced a policy regarding autonomous vehicles.

Photo caption: Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (third from right) looks on as Gov. Rick Snyder signs a package of autonomous vehicle bills that will keep Michigan at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design. Kowall has remained at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to autonomous vehicles and sponsored two bills in the package, Public Acts 332 and 333.

Note: For a print-quality version of this photo and other Kowall photos, click the image or select the Photowire link under the Media Center tab, above.