Technology

2016 saw the release of federal guidance designed to define the roles of the federal and state governments in regulating autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles. It also saw Michigan enact the most sweeping autonomous vehicle legislation in the nation. But while those efforts sought to focus on the immediate policy concerns and jurisdictional boundary issues involved in the testing and deployment of self-driving cars, others are starting to consider what are expected to be profound long-term policy and planning impacts of these vehicles across a wide variety of sectors in the decades ahead. These include impacts to the economy, the built environment, safety and energy consumption.

The importance of the internet extends to nearly every function of modern society including education, the economy, public safety, health care, entertainment, social offerings and transportation/travel. In fact, internet access is becoming increasingly seen in the United States as important to communities as traditional utilities like water and sewer service.

The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved bipartisan legislation known as the SELF DRIVE Act (HR 3388), which would give federal law priority over state laws when it comes to regulating the safety and design of autonomous vehicles. Action now moves to the Senate, where another bill is expected to emerge this Fall and where a hearing will take place next week. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao next week is expected to travel to Michigan to release an update to the autonomous vehicle policy guidance document issued a year ago by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These activities could lead to not only an increase in the number of vehicles being tested around the country in the years ahead but also provide clarity for state policymakers on the role state governments can play in regulating these vehicles going forward.

It seems that each day brings a barrage of new articles on what’s going on with autonomous and connected vehicle policy around the country. Just in the two months since we convened the CSG Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy for a group of state policymakers in Detroit (check out the meeting archive with extensive summaries of each policy academy session), there have been plenty of developments. Here’s a collection of some of the recent news, state updates and reports on this multifaceted, rapidly evolving transportation topic.

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As big data becomes more available, cities are plugging in to solve many of their problems—both old and new. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, or DOT, launched the Smart City Challenge. The winner of the challenge, a city that proposed an innovative use of big data to improve urban life, was to receive a $40 million grant to carry out the proposal.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a June 13 panel on the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy issued in 2016 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its model state policy. Panelists included Cathie Curtis of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Staff Sgt. Terence McDonnell of the New York State Policy traffic services section and Santa Clara University law professor Robert Peterson.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a special briefing June 13 by Robert Peterson, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California, who explained how insurance and liability will change as autonomous vehicles come online.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included an opening panel on June 12 featuring Jonathan Weinberger of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing 12 of the largest U.S. automakers, and Steve Gehring of the Association of Global Automakers, which represents 12 international auto companies with operations in the United States. Later, Doug Longhitano of Honda, Hilary Cain of Toyota and Harry Lightsey of General Motors joined the discussion.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a concluding panel on how policymakers and others may be able to envision and help bring about what some see as a better vision of the autonomous and connected vehicle future: one that involves a shared-use model of transportation and electric cars. Panelists included Tim Frisbie of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, Prashanthi Raman of Lyft, Carla Bailo of The Ohio State University and Kelley Coyner of George Mason University.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a special briefing by Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the schools of law and engineering. He spoke about the legal and regulatory landscape for autonomous vehicles.

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