The Michigan Senate passed a series of bills that will allow autonomous cars on the road without drivers being present in the car.  The bills overturn a previous law from 2013 that requires a backup driver to be present in an autonomous car.

The four new bills will usher in new laws that will put Michigan at the forefront of driverless car technology.  The Michigan Government hopes that the reduced restrictions on autonomous cars will encourage tech companies to come to the state to develop products and techniques associated with driverless car technologies.

The new laws will reduce restrictions on autonomous vehicles in Michigan.  In addition to allowing the public to purchase and use driverless vehicles as soon as they are available, the new laws also allow for driverless cars to be on the road without steering wheels or pedals.  So even if you wanted to take control of the car manually in an emergency, you would not be able to.  This law does not, however, require that driverless cars are manufactured without steering wheels or pedals, so it is likely that many models of autonomous vehicles will include them.

Michigan lawmakers are also hoping that ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft will be encouraged to build test facilities in the state for their new autonomous taxi programs.  The bills have also converted unused public roads near Willow Run to private roads designated for testing of driverless vehicles.

After the bills passed in the Senate last Wednesday, December 7th, Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall of White Lake said “We’re moving into the next century, ladies and gentlemen.”

The big question we have, is will people trust these new driverless cars in bad weather?  Let us know by answering our poll, or posting in the comments!