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Driverless vehicles are on their way, but still some kinks to work out

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company

As Michigan moves forward in the so-called “race to mobility,” there are still some details it needs to work out. The second annual report from Michigan’s Council on Future Mobility came out Monday.

The recommendations include the need for more laws and clarification surrounding the use of self-driving cars. For example, whether state laws need a new definition for the word “drive” And who – or what – would actually get a ticket?

Emily Frascaroli is a lawyer for Ford Motor Company and is on the council. She said there’s already been legislation in this area, but there are still details in the law that need to be cleaned up.

“Michigan will muddle through and it doesn’t mean we can’t have a deployment until we make a couple of definitional changes,” she said. “But we don’t want our state police to have to muddle through, we want to make things easy and efficient for everyone.”

The report comes just two weeks after a woman in Arizona was killed by a self-driving car. Governor Rick Snyder said there’s not a conclusion yet about what happened in that case, but when they find out they’ll look at the case and look for ways to improve from it.

When it comes to jobs, the report states that these new technologies will have, “wide-ranging consequences for society beyond a particular industry.”

Snyder said the loss of some jobs and creation of new jobs from the autonomous vehicle evolution is something he has been watching.


“Let’s be proactive and not just reactive when it comes to areas that may disappear,” he said. “Because if you plan far enough ahead I believe there are reasonable ways to address that rather than wait for it to become a crisis.”

This is the second annual report from the state’s Council on Future Mobility. Other topics focused on in the report include the need for a hyper-accurate map database and cybersecurity. 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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