U.S. House Passes Sweeping Autonomous Car Bill

U.S. House Passes Sweeping Autonomous Car Bill

The U.S. House today unanimously approved a sweeping proposal to speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles. The bill now goes to the Senate and would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year, a cap that would rise to 100,000 vehicles annually over three...
New California Regs to Allow Vehicle Testing Sans Driver

New California Regs to Allow Vehicle Testing Sans Driver

Yesterday California’s DMV published a revised set of draft regulations to govern the testing of driverless cars–or autonomous vehicles if you prefer. This set of regulations allows something the previous set did not: the testing of cars without a driver inside. The draft regulations face a period of public comment before becoming...
Driverless Car Coalition to Push Feds for Regs

Driverless Car Coalition to Push Feds for Regs

Google’s self-driving car division has formed a coalition with automakers and ride-share companies to push the federal government to adopt a uniform set of laws governing autonomous vehicles. The group includes Google, Lyft, Uber, Ford and Volvo. David Strickland, the Coalition’s counsel and spokesperson, said, “The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards, and the Coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving...
Google Seeks Special Driverless Car Agency

Google Seeks Special Driverless Car Agency

Instead of waiting for new regulations that will make way for self-driving cars on US roads, Google wants the government to create a new Federal-level authority that could review the company’s self-driving cars and give it special permissions for deployment. Google’s self-driving car, which is designed without pedals or a steering wheel, has had difficulties with current safety regulations that dictate a vehicle must allow a person to actually drive the car and have manual...
Driverless Cars Clear Major U.S. Hurdle

Driverless Cars Clear Major U.S. Hurdle

Reuters is reporting that U.S. regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have concluded that the artificial intelligence behind autonomous vehicles may be considered a “driver” for purposes of United States law. In a letter to Google from NHTSA’s Chief Counsel Paul Hemmersbaugh advised, “NHTSA will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants.” The decision is seen as a major step forward in clearing regulatory hurdles associated with the century-old model based on human drivers. If the car’s computer is the driver for legal purposes, then it clears the way for Google or automakers to design vehicle systems that communicate directly with the vehicle’s artificial pilot. Google told NHTSA that the real danger is having auto safety features that could tempt humans to try to take control....
Half of California Driver’s Licenses Issued to Undocumented Residents

Half of California Driver’s Licenses Issued to Undocumented Residents

According to the Los Angeles Times, an estimated 605,000 licenses were issued last year under Assembly Bill 60, the measure passed last year that grants the right to a California driver’s license to people in the country illegally. The figure accounts for almost half of all licenses issued in California last year. Officer Josh Nelson, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, suggested the measure likely improved highway safety in California. “Knowing that these drivers are being properly trained in order to get their licenses, it would only make sense that the roads would be safer,” he...
Feds: “One Drink” Legal Limit and No Cell Phones

Feds: “One Drink” Legal Limit and No Cell Phones

The National Transportation Safety Board would like to decrease the legal driving limit to one drink, lowering the legal limit on blood-alcohol content to 0.05 “or even lower.” The agency released its “most wanted list” on Wednesday, an annual wish list of changes it would make it would make across America if it could. Two of these proposals certain to stir controversy are the lowering of the legal limit and outlawing all cell phone use while driving, even hands-free technology. “When it comes to alcohol use, we know that impairment begins before a person’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent, the current legal limit in the United States,” the agency said. “In fact, by the time it reaches that level, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled. That is why states should lower BAC levels to 0.05— or even...
Obama Proposes $4B for Driverless Cars

Obama Proposes $4B for Driverless Cars

Yesterday the Obama administration proposed spending almost $4 billion to speed the development of autonomous vehicles. The proposal, which requires Congressional approval, would fund regulatory efforts to have officials work with automakers to come up with rules and policies necessary to make driverless cars work. Automakers frequently cite the lack of guidance from the government as one of the chief barriers to their autonomous vehicle projects. “Automated vehicles open up opportunities for saving time, saving lives and saving fuel,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Thursday at the North American International Auto Show, an annual auto industry get together in...
California Extends Ignition Interlock Pilot Program

California Extends Ignition Interlock Pilot Program

In case you missed it, the California Legislature extended the IID Pilot Program until July 1, 2017. The pilot program–effective only in the counties of Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare and Sacramento–requires every first-time DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Elsewhere in California first offenders are not required to install an...