Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed legislation to allow operation of autonomous vehicles on Michigan roadways. The bill signing took place at the at the Automotive Hall of Fame Museum, a nod to Michigan’s storied history with the automobile, and Snyder was flanked by a Ford Model T on one side and a self-driving Fusion on the other.

Snyder was joined by bill sponsor state Sen. Mike Kowall and mobility leaders from Ford and GM, as he signed Bill 995. The new legislation updates a 2013 Michigan law that allowed autonomous vehicles to be tested on state roadways, but required a human driver sit behind the wheel. The legislation requires that all safety requirements that pertain to the testing of autonomous vehicles also apply to autonomous vehicle operation. The bill specifically allows for automated vehicle platoons, which is where vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds. The bill also authorizes on-demand autonomous vehicle networks.

As part of the legislation, Michigan now has the Michigan Council on Future Mobility, which is part of the Michigan Department of Transportation. The council will make future recommendations on statewide policy recommendations regarding regulatory issues.

“Michigan put the world on wheels and now we are leading the way in transforming the auto industry,” Snyder said. “We are becoming the mobility industry, shaped around technology that makes us more aware and safer as we’re driving. By recognizing that and aligning our state’s policies as new technology is developed, we will continue as the leader the rest of the world sees as its biggest competition.”

The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs