Autonomous Cars One Step Closer to Becoming Legal in Michigan

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - September 26, 2016

Earlier this month, we passed on the news that Michigan’s Senate approved a bill that would make autonomous cars virtually 100 percent legal on roads in the state. Recently, those bills took their next step toward becoming law.

According to an Automotive News, Michigan’s House committee unanimously okayed these bills, which would allow a computer system to be the "driver" of a car at all times—not just when testing, as it was previously written.

Additionally, the law will also extend liability protections to mechanics who work on these cars. Also cleared up was language potentially excluding firms that develop autonomous technology but not cars, such as Google. The revised bills also include protections for entities that have created autonomous vehicles that meet all federal safety standards, have 1 million miles of driver-supervised testing, and have a surety bond of at least $10 million.

Also, the Senate judiciary committee sent a pair of bills to the Senate that would make it a felony to hack into a car’s computer system. These bills more or less amend current ones as they simply better define "motor vehicles" and "motor vehicle electronic system," and outline new sentencing guidelines.

New sentencing guidelines are five years for illegally accessing a vehicle’s computer system, 10 years for repeat offenders or those causing serious injury, and life for hacking instances that result in a death.

With these bills speeding through the legislature, Michigan is making itself a welcoming environment for autonomous car development.

While autonomous cars are the future, it will be a long time before they overtake today’s traditional cars. With that said, there are loads of great deals on cars with advanced technology from Michigan-based automakers, like Ford. Currently Ford is offering an incredible lease deal on its 2016 Focus Electric. This EV’s 36-month lease deal runs only $169 per month with $1,999 due at signing. This is in addition to any state or federal tax credits for which you might be eligible.

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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