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THE MICHIGAN State Assembly has passed a vote to let carmakers and tech companies, such as Google and Uber, test self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Unlike California, where test cars must have a human driver present, Michigan is letting companies make up the rules which will allow fleets of autonomous taxi vehicles to be rolled-out across the North Eastern American state.

Senators, both Republican and Democrat, are hoping the Bill, signed into law by governor Rick Snyder, will boost self-drive vehicle technology and encourage driverless car companies to move to Michigan.

Governor-Snyder

Governor Snyder said:

The Bill allows testing without burdensome regulations so that the industry can move forward with potential life-saving technology. It makes Michigan a place where, particularly for the auto industry, it is a good place to do work.

The driverless vehicle Bill is being promoted as part of a plan to bring back the golden age of the Detroit automobile era and Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudle added: “These laws put Michigan ahead of most other states in allowing tests without a human driver.

“Companies will make the decision as to when the cars are ready for that, based on more than a century of experience of testing cars on public roads.”

Volvo-and-Uber

Uber driverless vehicle

Only automobile companies and tech firms like Apple and Uber will be allowed to conduct driverless car trials, which Steudle hopes will cut the human errors that cause 94 per cent of crashes on the roads of Michigan.

The state Transportation Director conceded there would be crashes and probably even fatalities, but said: “It is a risk worth taking because of the future of the technologies we know are going to help reduce those crashes and cut those fatalities.”

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PHC Magazine

PHC Magazine