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Congress moves on sweeping self-driving car rules that scrap safety standards

Published Jul 18th, 2017 5:40PM EDT
Self-driving car laws up for vote
Image: Uber

A US House subcommittee will vote Wednesday on a proposal that would sweep away existing rules for self-driving car manufacturers, according to Reuters. The proposal would bar individual states from setting their own rules on autonomous vehicles, and remove many of the safety standards that self-driving cars currently have to meet.

The rules would undoubtedly accelerate the deployment of self-driving cars, and manufacturers claim that the increase in data collected by more self-driving vehicles will accelerate development of the technology.

The regulations would not require automakers to specifically certify new technologies before rolling them out. Instead, manufacturers would have to show self-driving cars “function as intended and contain fail safe features,” but the government could not “condition deployment or testing of highly automated vehicles on review of safety assessment certifications,” the draft bill says.

Currently, auto manufacturers have to show that vehicles meet 75 federal safety standards, most designed on the assumption that a human is in control of the vehicle at all times. A draft bill heard by a US House subcommittee last month would exempt 100,000 vehicles per manufacturer per year from those regulations.

The subcommittee is due to vote on the 30-page bill on Wednesday. A successful vote would pass the bill on to a broader vote of all representatives, and would be a major win for automakers, mostly because the bill usurps rules under consideration in a number of states.