It seems like every day, something new is happening in the world of automated vehicles. On December 9th, 2016, the governor of Michigan signed a bill into law allowing the testing of driverless automated vehicles on public roads. These bills, signed by Governor Rick Snyder, include automated vehicles without steering wheels. These vehicles have been a major point of controversy, as many critics argue the importance of a manual override. Michigan now joins California and several other states in allowing autonomous vehicles to be tested. These bills in Michigan may have far reaching implications as they open a variety of avenues for the autonomous vehicle market to expand.
Current Laws in CA
In California, autonomous vehicles cannot be piloted without a driver. With the new laws that were passed in Michigan, automotive manufactures will be able to build and test their fleet of driverless ride sharing vehicles. While many states have adopted expansions of automated driving, no state has legalized the practice of using these vehicles for ridesharing. This bill signing will allow companies like Ford to partner with Lyft and Uber to test and provide a new market of ride sharing never before possible here in the United States. It seems fitting that the powerhouse of the American auto industry would be at the vanguard of driverless technology.
How will these bills affect drivers in California? Because the bills adopted in Michigan only allow auto manufacturers to test their cars, companies like Apple and Google may put more pressure on the California Legislature to allow for similar expansions of automated vehicle testing for companies other than those currently manufacturing and selling street legal vehicles. With companies like Tesla, Google and Apple all looking to make massive waves in the industry, we can reasonably assume California to follow suit behind Michigan.