New SELF Drive Legislation Introduced

Self-driving vehicles once seemed like an outlandish, futuristic “possibility”, but with the introduction of the SELF-DRIVE Act this month, Congress is recognizing it as a present reality and future inevitability.

The SELF-DRIVE Act is a piece of bipartisan legislation that allows the Department of Transportation (DOT) to research, test and deploy automated vehicles that meet safety and disclosure requirements.  The legislation is intended to ensure a clear and consistent rule of law around automated vehicles, as well as better inform the public.

At its core, the SELF-DRIVE Act extends the control of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the DOT to automated as well as manual vehicles.  Due to an increase in the use of automated vehicles, this was a legal necessity.  Rather than an expansion of power, this legislation moves automated vehicles under the umbrella of “vehicle”, expanding the definition.

With this federal legislation in place, manufacturers will no longer have to wrestle with 50 different states and their individual laws and requirements.  Now, the designs and requirements for automated vehicles will be standardized.  This impacts every facet of the development process, from obtaining grants to mandated testing hours.  Consumers will have peace of mind knowing that each provider has met minimum federal regulations, encouraging further innovation through protected market competition.

The introduction of the internet put technology ahead of the law, thereby creating several grey areas as the web continued to expand.  With support from both parties, it looks like this bill should pass without too much debate.  It is encouraging to see government learning from their mistakes when it comes to automated vehicles, working to ensure that the innovation and adoption of these cars is not hindered by murky legal requirements.

The nature of transportation is changing.  Our expectations for efficiency have become more and more demanding as IoT has continued to evolve and infiltrate new areas of our existence.  Reclaiming the time that it takes to commute between locations is just one of the many ways automated vehicles are changing the industry.

To learn more about some of the IoT projects currently underway in the Transportation industry, click through our blog!

Clare Maher

Clare Maher is the Product Marketing Manager at ClearObject. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College (#gobelles), Clare can usually be found yelling at the screen during a Notre Dame game, quoting any film ever made or touring the Indy restaurant scene.

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