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US House of Representatives passes new bipartisan self-driving auto bill
10 September 2017, 03:36 | Marta Robbins
United States To Unveil Revised Self-Driving Car Guidelines
The new measure would allow automakers to acquire permits for up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards, according to Reuters. The legislation also calls on the Department of Transportation to review its own regulations, many of which define a auto by reference to, for example, steering wheels and brake pedals in view of some AV designs that obviate the need for the features.
There are unresolved regulatory, safety and government funding issues, but the bill passed easily by voice vote on Tuesday, and its progress through Congress is widely supported.
Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act - was introduced by Bob Latta (R-OH) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI). Now it's up to the Senate to read, debate and tweak, if it's to make its way onto President Trump's desk to be signed into law. Labor unions successfully lobbied to exclude tractor-trailers, buses and other commercial vehicles from the House bill. This would be a significant increase on the number of vehicles that have been tested on USA roads so far (through agreements with various state-level bodies).
Basically, the proposed bill would make it possible for companies including Ford, Waymo, GM's Cruise and others to bypass some safety standards that now apply to human piloted cars, including requirements like that they have steering wheels and gas pedals on board. However, the bill delegates important safety and economic issues to NHTSA with minimal guidance.
In addition, it would also allow for more driverless vehicle tests, which means more cars on the road. That number will increase to 50,000 in the second year and 100,000 per automaker in the third year.
The bill - which takes the abbreviated name of the SELF DRIVE Act - is meant to get vehicles without manual controls to market and prohibit states from blocking the technology's sale or use.
Many critics have expressed concern about the introduction of autonomous vehicles in relation to the economy. "The US must stay at the forefront of innovation and technology, and we must make sure that we remain in the driver's seat, as opposed to countries like China or India", said Dingell.
Trump's deal with Democrats makes Republicans shudder
The U.S. dollar got a boost on news of agreement on the debt ceiling, which caps how much money the U.S. government can borrow. The party in power - in this case Republicans - often argues for as long of a debt limit increase as possible for two reasons.