How governments can clear the road for self-driving cars

-GOVERNING, 8 APRIL 2016, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

So you’ve decided that your state should have self-driving cars. How, then, do you catch the attention of the Googles, Volvos and Navyas of the world that are developing and even deploying these vehicles?

Passing a typical “autonomous driving” law will get your state noticed — but not necessarily in a good way. Although Google pushed for these laws in Nevada (the first) and California (the most prominent), the company has since resisted legislation in other states as too restrictive or onerous. Many forms of automated driving already may be legal, and states from Texas to Massachusetts have attracted research activities without a specific regime for self-driving cars.

Meanwhile, some new laws are not helping. Michigan has expressly prohibited widespread use of these vehicles on public roads. California has conditioned automated driving on rules enacted by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles — rules that are now 15 months overdue with no clear end in sight. Nevada requires companies testing their automated vehicles in the state to register them in Nevada regardless of any other registration. They must change license plates at the border. <Read More>