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Driverless cars legislation picks up speed

Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company's self-driving vehicle

This is a very busy weekend on Michigan highways.  

But in the future, many of the vehicles on the road won’t have a person behind the wheel.

The state senate is expected act quickly on a package of bills to loosen rules governing autonomous vehicles.

Kirk Steudle is the head of the Michigan Department of Transportation.  

He believes autonomous cars will eventually reduce fatalities on Michigan roads.

Steudle wants automakers to have more leeway to test driverless cars in Michigan.

“I would much rather put my faith in the technology in whose building it, as opposed to a government overseer bureaucrat that’s testing sporadically,” says Steudle, “We need to make sure we don’t overregulate, provide an open framework and then not get in the way of the technology.   Make sure it’s going along safely….but keep it on a path that development continues.”

Ford and General Motors supported the driverless car bills at a hearing last week.

State senators may pass the four-bill package this week.  Its sponsors are optimistic the state House will act quickly on the legislation.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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