A committee within the US House of Representatives, today, voted on a bill that would speed up the deployment of self-driving or autonomous cars. The bill passed 54-0. Not only does this bill speed up the deployment of these autonomous vehicles, it also keeps States from blocking these vehicles on its roads. No States have really blocked self-driving cars from its roads, but some have made it a bit more difficult for companies like Uber, Lyft, Google and Apple, to test on public roads.
According to Reuters, this bill that was passed, would allow automakers to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles a year without meeting the existing auto safety standards in the first year. After that, the cap would move to 100,000 vehicles annually, for up to three years. Now the part about not meeting safety standards might be a bit scary, but it's important to remember that the existing standards are not made for self-driving cars, and really don't work for them. So this is going to help the NHTSA work on a new set of standards for these autonomous cars. Something that the NHTSA has been working on since Obama was president.
Additionally, companies that are building self-driving cars, believe that Congress will approve this legislation before the end of the year. For years, automakers have been pushing the government to ease regulations for self-driving cars, and believe that the current rules that keep self-driving cars off the road, without a human being in control, is to restrictive. These companies also think that California's rules are too restrictive, which is where most of the tech companies are located, so that's a big issue in this debate. Companies like Waymo, Apple, Ford, General Motors and others are getting deep into its testing of self-driving cars and have been working hard to make its vehicles better and better. But there's only so much testing that can be done in a simulated environment. Which is why these companies need the government to step up and allow them to test these cars out on the public roads, where there are pedestrians, and human drivers. To make sure these cars are indeed safe.