By Justin Yelda, Associate at Locations Commercial Real Estate Services
On December 9th, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation designed to put Michigan in the forefront for autonomous technology, testing and deployment for self-driving cars. Supporters feel the laws are important for the state’s economic development and talent retention. Automakers are encouraged by the legislation that gives Michigan the broadest set of regulations in the country. The Detroit news quotes Gov. Snyder as saying “It’s not about racing on legislation, but it’s about having good, smart legislation that’s about safety first and then creating an environment for innovation.”
Autonomous cars will soon be on the roads in 10 states, including Michigan. What does this mean? Autonomous cars are self-driven or driverless cars that are capable of sensing the environment and navigating without human input. Many people may be skeptical to this idea; however, the technology that will be placed in these vehicles is mind-blowing. They detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, lidar, GPS, odometry, and computer vision. Despite the fact that the vehicles will drive, brake and park themselves, some states will still require a passenger to be present in the vehicle during operations.
According to Crain’s Detroit, Fiat Chrysler Automotive, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Co., Google, Uber, and Lyft, all have their approval stamp embedded in the new law to allow these self-driving vehicles on public roads. Continuous testing and point-checking have been taken place to assure safety for both, people in the autonomous vehicle and also those surrounding. The idea of self-driving vehicles is revolutionary for the transportation industry,
I was a little hesitant about the idea, but the more I understood the technology and adequate testing and certification, I’ve become more open-minded about it. This can create new outlets for different types of transportation services. I project this is going to be a game changer in all types services ranging from delivering medical supplies to food deliveries. Now I’m excited to see how this will enhance the automotive industry and impact Michigan’s economy.
Of course, one minor problem is I find it hard to believe that autonomous cars won’t ever have any traffic violations. If there’s no driver, who gets the traffic ticket?!