In U.S., Senate Commerce Committee has approved comprehensive legislation on self-driving vehicles, however after this full Senate needs to take the up the bill. The bill is being seen as a boost for self-driving cars and is expected to speed up their deployment.
Clarifying the roles to be played by the federal and the state governments, the bill allows the state government to continue to license, regulate insurance, and enforce traffic laws but states that the design and manufacture of the vehicles will be regulated by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It allows the automakers to each sell up to companies can sell up to 15,000 self-driving vehicles in the first year and 80,000 after three years, annually on demonstrating that they are as safe as current vehicles. The NHTSA will have the authority to exempt vehicles from federal safety requirements and will have time up to 180 days for the determination.
The automakers and technology companies were lobbying for clarity of legislation of self-driving cars and it is being seen as a welcome move for them. The critics of the bill are accusing it to be too lenient towards the automakers and compromising on the safety aspect. It should be noted that the House and Senate bills pertain only to the development of driverless cars, and not to the prospect that driverless trucks.