House Passes Bill Easing Autonomous Vehicle Testing Restrictions

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Today, the US House of Representatives passed the "Self Drive Act", which prevents US states from creating any laws that regulate the development and performance of autonomous vehicles, putting that power exclusively in the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Additionally, the bill proposes to prevent U.S. states from creating laws that will control the development and performance of self-driving vehicles and will transfer the power exclusively to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The SELF DRIVE Act nullifies that problem, giving the federal government the ability to establish a national framework. That cap would rise to 100,000 per company per year in three years' time.

The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, an association that includes automakers Ford and Volvo as well as tech firms seeking to deploy autonomous vehicles such as former Google auto unit Waymo, Uber and Lyft, welcomed the passage.

Soon, you could start seeing more self-driving cars on the road.

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Traditionally, the federal government has regulated vehicle safety, and states have handled vehicle operations, such as issuing driver licenses.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was expected to unveil the revised guidelines next Tuesday at a self-driving vehicle testing facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan, four people briefed on the matter said.

The legislations is aimed at giving auto manufacturers an edge in developing and rolling out new self-driving vehicle technologies here in the United States, but the freedoms it provides may be a cause for concern.

Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Latta says the bill will spur innovation, "U.S. companies are investing major resources in the research and development of this technology and should not be held up by regulatory barriers created when self-driving cars were just science fiction".

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The action now moves to the Senate, where Republican John Thune of South Dakota and Democrats Bill Nelson of Florida and Gary Peters of MI are leading work on legislation of their own. The House bill only applies to passenger cars and light trucks.

Prior guidelines were issued by the Obama administration last September.

Some automakers have protested in the recent past that states' proposed rules on self-driving cars are too prohibitive-especially California.

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