Authorities in the US state of Michigan have passed a package of automaker-backed bills that will allow autonomous vehicles to drive on public roads without steering wheels or pedals.
According to a new report by the US’s Fortune, Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, passed the legislation in an effort to re-establish the state as the leader in driverless vehicle development.
The four bills; 995, 996, 997 and 998, help to outline regulations for the testing, use, and eventual sale of autonomous vehicles and technologies, while better defining how driverless cars can be used on public roads.
Also included in the new legislation is the provision for manufacturers to test vehicles without steering wheels or pedals – something that the state of California prohibits.
Michigan state officials told the publication that car makers Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford Motor Company, General Motors (GM) and Toyota Motor, along with ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft, helped to shape the final legislation.
However, Uber is not happy with the contents of bill 996, which states only “motor vehicle manufacturers” can participate in a ‘SAVE’ project – which is an initiative that allows eligible manufacturers to deploy a fleet of on-demand driverless taxis.
It puts a dent in Uber’s autonomous fleet plans, while it races against automakers and rival tech companies like Google to develop and implement autonomous vehicle technology.
While companies like Uber are a little salty about the recent developments, carmakers like Ford are very supportive of the new laws.
“We’re grateful for this legislation because it will play a critical role in achieving our intention to deliver a fully-autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle with no gas or brake pedals and no steering wheel for commercial use in geo-fenced areas in 2021,” said Wayne Bahr, director Automotive Safety at Ford Motor Company.
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