New Florida Law Nixes Need for Autonomous Vehicle Operators

first_img Scania Unveils Multi-Purpose Autonomous Vehicle ConceptUber Driverless Cars Return to the Road After Fatal Arizona Crash Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a bill removing “unnecessary obstacles that hinder the development of autonomous vehicle technology”—including backup drivers.The new law, which takes effect July 1, will allow a self-driving car (meeting all insurance requirements) to run without a human operator.It also exempts occupants from laws against texting and other distractions.“Signing this legislation paves the way for Florida to continue as a national leader in transportation innovation and technological advancement,” DeSantis said in a statement.Flanked by smiling supporters, the governor on Thursday signed House Bill 311 at the SunTrax transportation center, used to test autonomous vehicles.Also in attendance were Republican bill sponsors Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Jason Fischer.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing autonomous vehicle tests with no human operator (via Gov. DeSantis Press Office)“We here in Florida are pioneering the most exciting innovations in transportation,” Fischer said. “This bill on self-driving cars will usher in a new era of smart cities that will not only expand our economy but increase road safety and decrease traffic congestion.”And permit “active display” of TV or video in the car.The Sunshine State isn’t exactly breaking new ground: Last year, the California DMV introduced new regulations allowing automakers to test and deploy fully driverless vehicles.We still have a long way to go, though, before folks can start napping behind the wheel.High-profile accidents—an autonomous Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona; Tesla’s Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of a fiery Model X crash in California—have left some mistrustful of self-driving cars.Others, meanwhile, are ready and willing to move forward with the unpredictable technology.“Autonomous vehicles are the way of the future and Florida is leading the charge through the research, testing, and development of autonomous vehicles,” according to state Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault. “And now with this bill signed into law … Florida is ready to lead the nation with this innovative transportation advancement.”Brandes agreed, adding that “With the signing of this legislation we reaffirm our bold commitment to lead the country as we transition to a shared, electric and driverless future.”In February 2018, Ford unveiled a self-driving delivery pilot program that would see autonomous vehicles roaming the streets of Miami—notorious for its traffic congestion.More on Geek.com:U.S. Postal Service Begins Testing Self-Driving TrucksResearchers Teach Autonomous Cars to Predict Pedestrian MovementStudy: Even Self-Driving Cars Are Racist Now Stay on targetlast_img read more