2017-09-06 —

The overarching goal of the Self Drive Act is to establish a federal framework for the regulation of self-driving cars, something industry experts say is sorely needed in the early days of the technology. It would also dramatically increase the possible number of autonomous vehicles on the road. Right now, automakers and companies interested in testing self-driving technology have to apply for exemptions to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) federal motor vehicle safety standards, and the agency only grants 2,500 per year. The Self Drive Act would increase that cap to 25,000 per year initially, and expand it up to 100,000 annually in three years' time.


The Self Drive Act would make it so that states can no longer write legislation that the auto industry considers restrictive -- like in New York, for example, which requires expensive police escorts for autonomous tests. It would instead leave it in the hands of the federal government, which can make the guidelines more uniform. "The lack of regulations has often been cited as a potential obstacle to the proliferation of self-driving vehicles," Krebs says. "So having this federal framework, if it gets passed by the Senate, will take care of that."

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