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US House passes bill for self-driving cars

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill with unanimous support that could accelerate the rollout of self-driving technology, a media report said.

The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act, or the “Self Drive Act” now moves to the Senate. If it passes there, it could become the first national law for self-driving cars in the US, The Verge reported on Wednesday.

The goal of the “Self Drive Act” is to establish a federal framework for the regulation of self-driving cars.

Currently, automakers and companies who test self-driving technology have to apply for exemptions to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Meanwhile, the Self Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a group that includes Google, Ford, Uber, Lyft, Volvo, and others, released a statement praising the House for passing the act.

“Self-driving vehicles offer an opportunity to significantly increase safety, improve transportation access for underserved communities and transform how people, goods and services get from point A to B,” they wrote.

However, the “Self Drive Act” will not give these companies free rein to test whatever they want on public roads, though.

In its current form, the act requires automakers to prove that the self-driving car in question is at least as safe as its human-piloted equivalent in order to be granted an exemption, the report said.

Companies applying for exemptions would also be required to report any crashes involving exempted vehicles.

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