Macomb Daily: U.S. Sen. Gary Peters says legislation will make it easier to develop and test autonomous vehicles in Michigan

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters said new legislation will make it easier to research, develop and test self-driving vehicles in Michigan.

Last week, Peters, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

The bill aims to advance the testing and development of autonomous technology and provide more public policy on these “life-saving” technologies at the federal level. Peters introduced the legislation along with U.S. Sen. John Thune, R- South Dakota, who chairs the committee.

On Monday, Peters spoke in detail about the legislation at the Advance Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles USA Conference in Novi.

“I’m pleased we were able to work in a bipartisan way to craft legislation that will allow us to move forward with technology related to self-driving vehicles,” said Peters. “These are vehicles that will have dramatic improvements in safety.”

Peters added that with this technology in place, most traffic accidents could be eliminated. He said it’s extremely important that the federal government stays ahead of the curve when it comes public policy relating to autonomous technologies.

“It’s not easy for the federal government to stay ahead of emerging technologies,” said Peters. “We are seeing an exponential increase in technological advancement. In order to make sure the public is safe and that the proper regulations are in place, it’s important to think about the future today.

Peters co-founded the Smart Transportation Caucus, which has made the development and deployment of self-driving technologies a priority in the U.S. Senate.

In December, Gov. Rick Snyder passed into law Senate Bill 995, which made it legal to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads where before only manufacturers could test these vehicles.


• Provides enhanced safety oversight- Requires manufacturers to submit safety evaluation reports to the federal government with information addressing safety, crashworthiness, and cybersecurity through testing

• Reinforces federal, state, and local roles- ensures the U.S. Department of Transportation’s continued responsibility for automated vehicle design, construction, and performance while maintaining state and local roles in determining traffic laws, registration, and licensing

• Reduces barriers to vehicle deployment- expands federal authority to implement an enhanced review and approval process for vehicle safety standards

• Brings existing rules up to speed- Directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to act quickly to modernize existing federal motor vehicle safety standards, which were written before self-driving vehicles were envisioned.

• Improves vehicle safety and data sharing- establishes a committee of experts to identify and develop recommended standards

• Strengthens cybersecurity- Requires manufacturers to develop and implement a comprehensive written plan for identifying and reducing cybersecurity risks to self-driving vehicles

• Promotes consumer education- Advances guidelines on responsible consumer education and marketing

• Americans with Disabilities- Improves mobility for Americans with disabilities by preventing the denial of a license to operate a self-driving vehicle on the basis of a disability.

By:  Mark Cavitt
Source: Macomb Daily