Michigan may let driverless cars cruise public roads without a human operator

Ford FusionFordFord fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid research vehicle on streets of Dearborn, MI. Ford has been researching autonomous vehicles for more than a decade and currently tests fully autonomous vehicles in Michigan, Arizona and California, and will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet this year to have the largest of any automaker.

Michigan may become the first state to let driverless cars on the road without any human driver behind the wheel.

State legislators have introduced a bill that would let companies developing the self-driving technology operate their vehicles on the road without a test driver present.

Most major automakers and some major tech companies, including Google and Uber, are developing autonomous cars and testing them on public roads. But currently, all states require a human driver to be behind the wheel in case they need to take over.

The proposed legislation is part of a package of bills that a bipartisan group of state legislators introduced to update the state’s current law on autonomous vehicles. Michigan’s senate economic development committee will hold a hearing on the bill, which was originally introduced in May, on Wednesday.

According to a report from CNN Money, sponsors say the bill has bipartisan support, so it has a good chance of passing.

Republican senator Mike Kowall, who introduced the bill, said that updating the state’s current law regarding self-driving vehicles could mean economic benefits.

“Advances in autonomous technology will allow Michigan drivers and their passengers to be safer on the road,” Kowall said in a press statement when the bill was introduced earlier this year. “In addition, a robust and free environment for testing and development will ensure the Michigan economy benefits from this new technology and changes in mobility.”

Another bill in the package would also amend the law so that if one of these self-driving vehicles is involved in an accident, the automaker will be held responsible, Kowall told CNN Money.

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