A new Michigan law will set aside specific roadways for autonomous vehicles. - Photo: Canva

A new Michigan law will set aside specific roadways for autonomous vehicles.

Photo: Canva

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bipartisan effort that will help pave the way for autonomous vehicle roadways in Michigan, according to a press release. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn.

“Michigan put the world on wheels, but the automotive industry as we know it is beginning to take new forms,” said Horn. “We need to solidify Michigan’s role in the future of vehicle technology as well, and this legislation does just that. Adapting and testing our roadways goes hand in hand with emerging vehicle technologies, and this law gives us the ability to test smart roads as well.”

Senate Bill 0706 (now Public Act 179 of 2022) will set the stage for the development of a connected and automated vehicle corridor in Michigan. The new law will allow the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to work jointly with the private sector to create and put into use automated vehicle roadway technology in the state.

Under the law, MDOT will have the authority to designate a segment of roadway under its jurisdiction as an AVR.

“We are thrilled to continue growing Michigan’s leadership by setting new global standards for automotive safety, mobility infrastructure and smart cities, through policies like Senate Bill 706,” said Kathryn Snorrason of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “We appreciate the partnership of Gov. Whitmer, Sen. Horn, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and others throughout the industry in helping us take this significant step forward as we continue developing, testing, and deploying the future of mobility here in Michigan.”

The legislation was drafted based off of recommendations from the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification and builds on efforts initiated by Horn that brought the autonomous vehicle industry to Michigan. In 2016, Horn was a sponsor of a bipartisan package that allowed “real world” testing of autonomous vehicles on certain roadways if specific safety measures were met.

“These new technologies are expanding and bringing with them highly skilled jobs — and Michigan workers are ready to take on the task,” said Horn. “This will be another tool we can use to help grow Michigan’s economy long into the future. We’ve pioneered the development of automated vehicle technology, and with this step, we’re letting the world know our doors are open, and that we’re ready to take on the next chapter.”

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