Michigan Governor Signs AV Rules Eliminating Human Driver Requirement

Michigan hopes to regain its throne atop the automotive world with relaxing rules on the operation of autonomous vehicles on state roads.

On Friday, Dec. 9, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed S.B. 955, which authorizes the operation of autonomous vehicles on Michigan public roads. The legislation updates a 2013 law that allowed for the testing of autonomous vehicles in the state, but required a driver sit behind the wheel.

Flanked by a Model T on one side and a self-driving Ford Fusion on the other, Snyder — along with bill sponsor Sen. Mike Kowall and mobility leaders from Ford and GM — signed the bill, which he said he believes will position the state as an epicenter for automotive innovation and autonomous vehicles.

The legislation not only scraps the need for a person to physically be in the car, but also allows for automated vehicle platoons, in which connected vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds, drafting behind one another to reduce wind resistance and increase fuel efficiency. SB 955 also authorizes on-demand autonomous vehicle networks.

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Mike Foster