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New State Law Allows Driverless Vehicles on Michigan Roadways

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed two pieces of legislation that will allow automakers to test automated vehicles on Michigan roads.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed two pieces of legislation allowing the testing of driverless vehicles on Michigan roadways.

The governor called for the measures in his 2013 state of the state address.

“Michigan is the automotive capital of the world,” said Snyder, in a statement. “By allowing the testing of automated, driverless cars today, we will stay at the forefront in automotive technological advances that will make driving safer and more efficient in the future.”

Many companies and universities in Michigan are leading the way in intelligent, connected vehicle programs aimed at driverless cars, the governor's office reported. 

This legislation is aimed to help promote research and development of automotive technology in the state, Snyder said.

Specifically, Senate Bill 169 will allow automakers and upfitters to test automated vehicles on Michigan roads, as long as a human is in the driver’s seat to monitor performance and intervene if necessary.

A companion measure, SB 663, will protect original manufacturers from civil liability for damages caused by modified autonomous vehicles, the report said.   

Both bills were sponsored by state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).

Florida, California and Nevada are the only other states with autonomous vehicle laws.

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