The SELF DRIVE Act

The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution (SELF DRIVE) Act just passed the House of Representatives unanimously. Congress loves a good backronym.

Wired has a nice rundown of the key parts of the bill. The major feature seems to be moving autonomous vehicle regulation from a patchwork of 50 different state regimes over to a single set of federal regulations. You’ll no longer have to worry about getting arrested when you take your self-driving car across state lines.

The law was pushed by a consortium of interested companies — Ford, Waymo, Lyft, Uber, and Volvo. To be honest, on self-driving cars, I trust my old employers at Ford more than I trust any department of motor vehicles.

The “unanimous” passage of the bill makes me a little nervous — as if not enough people were paying attention. Surely there is something in there somebody objects to. Personally, I kind of like the “laboratories of democracy” aspect of state regulation.

But since it seems destined to become law anyway, we should all hope this bill speeds the development of safe autonomous vehicles that prevent many of the 35,000 annual motor vehicle fatalities in the US.

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