The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan driverless car bill on Wednesday, advancing what could become the first set of federal laws for the emerging industry.
The “Self Drive Act” was unanimously approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in July, before Congress left for August recess, and passed the full House on a voice vote.
The bill would prevent states from implementing certain laws governing the new technology. It would also allow car manufacturers to deploy up to 100,000 self-driving cars a year that do not meet normal safety standards. In the first year, however, that number will be capped at 25,000.
States will still be responsible for vehicle registration, insurance, driver education, law enforcement and other local issues. Manufacturers will be required to include cybersecurity and privacy protections in their vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be in charge of regulating the industry’s traffic safety standards. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is expected to unveil guidelines for manufacturing autonomous vehicles.
Lawmakers and industry advocates say it is necessary to speed up the development of driverless technology in order to improve traffic safety. The bill comes amid an uptick in traffic deaths in the U.S. According to one estimate, self-driving cars could reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90%.
The Senate is also expected to put out its own version of a self-driving car bill soon.
Source: The Hill