The cradle of American automotive innovation has in the past decade migrated 2,000 miles from Detroit to Silicon Valley, where autonomous vehicles and other advanced technology is coming to life.

If Senate Bills 995, 996, 997, and 998 all pass as written, they d represent a substantial update of Michigan s 2013 law that allowed the testing of autonomous vehicles in limited conditions.

He says lawmakers clearly want to make the state ready for the commercial application of autonomous tech.In contrast, California, home of Silicon Valley, recently proposed far more restrictive rules that would require human drivers be ready to take the wheel, and ban commercial use of autonomous tech.

The legislation says the automated driving system is the legal operator, but, Smith says, It s not clear what this means or to what it extends, and it will require substantial clarification.

In contrast, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration s announcement in February that it would count computers as human drivers is a less dramatic legal move that allows Google to move ahead with its plan to get rid of the steering wheel and pedals, without thinking about liability concerns just yet.

That s no surprise, since the bills reserve the right to operate on-demand robo-fleets for motor vehicle manufacturers.

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