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Michigan becomes first state in nation to develop comprehensive regulations for autonomous vehicle research, development, use

In a move that will position the state to become the epicenter for driverless vehicle technology, Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation into law making Michigan the first state in the nation to establish comprehensive regulations for the testing, use and eventual sale of autonomous vehicle technology.

“Michigan is the global center for automotive technology and development, having transformed the way the world moves for more than 100 years,” Snyder said. “By establishing guidelines and standards for self-driving vehicles, we’re continuing that tradition of excellence in a way that protects the public’s safety while at the same time allows the mobility industry to grow without overly burdensome regulations.”

The new law, signed by Snyder at 11 a.m. at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, more clearly defines the circumstances of how self-driving vehicles can be legally used on public roadways. The new law also allows:
• Testing of vehicles without steering wheels, pedals or needed human control;
• Automotive and technology companies to operate self-driving vehicle ride-sharing services; and
• Self-driving vehicles to be sold for public use once the technology has been tested and certified.

In addition, the new law will establish the Michigan Council on Future Mobility, an arm of the Michigan Department of Transportation that will recommend policies to set industry standards. It also will regulate connected vehicle networks and how traffic data, such as vehicle crashes, will be collected and shared.

“This legislation keeps Michigan at the forefront of a renaissance in automotive technology,” said Kirk T. Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The law helps government further support the industry while not getting in the way.”

The forward-thinking legislation is the result of public and private collaborative efforts to ensure any new policy would not impact the autonomous vehicle industry’s ability to evolve safely and in an atmosphere that encourages increased research and investment. The partners who helped inform the final legislation include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), U.S., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp. and Google Inc., as well as ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.

Michigan is a national leader in connected and automated vehicle projects, surpassing states like California, Florida and Nevada that have yet to establish more comprehensive laws regarding self-driving vehicle technology and their use on public roads. Among these projects is the state-of-the-art American Center for Mobility; the first phase of which is in development

Located at the 335-acre historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, the Center will serve as a research, testing and self-certification facility for self-driving and connected vehicle technologies that are being developed by private industry, academia and government. It is the second purpose-built facility in the state, the first being Mcity, a smaller proving ground that mimics real-world situations and is located in Ann Arbor on the University of Michigan’s campus.

“Our leadership in the automotive industry is recognized globally and these new regulations are another example of how Michigan is forward-thinking when it comes to innovation in the mobility sector,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “By creating a more in-depth framework for how self-driving vehicle technology can be researched, tested and used, we’re building a structured plan that takes into account the needs of private industry looking to invest in research and the development of this technology.”

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 88,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.