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Michigan Invests In Its Own Future

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On: Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 7:04PM | By: Karen Cook

Michigan Invests In Its Own Future

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sees the future. Michigan is the hub of the auto industry in the United States and Gov. Snyder intends to keep it that way with two new laws allowing testing of autonomous vehicles both on the public roads and at a $6.5 million, 30-acre test site near the University of Michigan. This is a huge step toward driverless cars. California, Nevada, and Florida have already put the same type of laws into practice.

Besides moving the industry forward, the new laws will also boost the economy and save jobs. Research teams will be kept busy, and the laws also require a human being to be in the vehicles during testing in case of an emergency. Mike Kowall, the Republican Senator from White Lake, sponsored the bills and believes this action will help keep the research business in the state. The laws will remain in place until 2016 when the Michigan Department of Transportation will be required to let the legislature know of any changes needed for new testing laws.

The laws also protect car manufacturers from any civil liability for damages involving the modified vehicles. Auto makers can be held accountable only for defects present when the automobile left the factory.

The researchers at the state university are conducting an experiment called Safety Pilot, which will involve 3000 area residents using a small group of networked vehicles. They are hoping to make Ann Arbor the first American city to have a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles by 2021.

If you live in Michigan don’t be surprised if you are seeing cars driving themselves very soon. You will be able to spot these vehicles by an “M” on the license plate, which the state is requiring them to have. Check the plate before you call 911.



DipStick | 11:26AM (Tue, Dec 31, 2013)

So who is liability for these vehicles?

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