Autonomous-Car Regulations: Lawmakers Are Ready To Let Go of the Steering Wheel

CAR AND DRIVER, OCT. 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Earlier this fall, not long after Senate Republicans sank their ­party’s seven-year assault on Obamacare, the House of Representatives did something almost unthinkable in the era of Congressional inaction. Two-hundred-and-forty Republicans and 194 Democrats voted unanimously to approve a bill. That bill did not propose a pay raise for Congress or publicly suggest Kim Jong-un suck on a uranium rod. It was actual policy.

Citing the potential safety benefits and economic payoff of robocars, House members established an early framework for ­driverless-vehicle regulations. Or, more accurately, they established that, in the near term, the rules will be few and far between for such vehicles. When it comes to future regulations in this area, law­makers appear ready to let go of the steering wheel and hand over control to auto manufacturers and tech companies.

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