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U.S. House to Weigh Self-Driving Car Bill After Recess

July 27, 2017

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, during a July 27 markup session that included legislation on autonomous vehicles. Screen shot courtesy of the House Energy and Commerce Committee/YouTube.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, during a July 27 markup session that included legislation on autonomous vehicles. Screen shot courtesy of the House Energy and Commerce Committee/YouTube.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, July 27, green-lighted legislation that would establish federal authority over self-driving vehicle performance and safety standards, overriding state laws aimed at regulating such vehicles’ mechanical, hardware and software systems.

Committee members approved the bill on a unanimous vote, and the full House is expected to consider the legislation in September. Meanwhile, the Senate is readying its own legislation addressing future autonomous vehicle regulations.

The House legislation would require the U.S. Transportation Department to prepare a plan within a year to establish safety regulations and performance standards for self-driving vehicles, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Manufacturers would also need to submit written cybersecurity plans outlining vulnerability detection and response practices. The Transportation Department would have two years to craft safety assessment criteria for autonomous vehicle manufacturers.

Within three years of the bill’s passage, the Transportation Department would need to complete a study to determine the most effective means for educating the driving public about the capabilities and limits of partially and fully autonomous vehicles. Armed with the findings of this research, the Transportation Department would then craft rules to guide how manufacturers inform the public about automated driving systems.

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