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Driverless Vehicles Are On Their Way In Michigan, But There’s Still Some Kinks To Work Out

Autonomous Vehicle
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As Michigan moves forward in the so-called “race to mobility,” there are still some details it needs to work out.  The second annual report from Michigan’s Council on Future Mobility came out Monday. 

The recommendations include the need for more laws and clarification surrounding the use of self-driving cars.  For example, whether state laws need a new definition for the word “drive.”  And who – or what – would actually get a ticket?

Emily Frascaroli is a lawyer for Ford Motor Company and is on the council.  She said there’s already been legislation in this area, but there are still details in the law that need to be cleaned up.

“Michigan will muddle through and it doesn’t mean we can’t have a deployment until we make a couple of definitional changes,” she said.  “But we don’t want our state police to have to muddle through, we want to make things easy and efficient for everyone.”

The report comes just two weeks after a woman in Arizona was killed by a self-driving car.  GovernorRick Snydersaid there’s not a conclusion yet about what happened in that case, but when they find out they’ll look at the case and look for ways to improve from it.

When it comes to jobs, the report states that these new technologies will have, “wide-ranging consequences for society beyond a particular industry.”

Snyder said the loss of some jobs and creation of new jobs from the autonomous vehicle evolution is something he has been watching.

“Let’s be proactive and not just reactive when it comes to areas that may disappear,” he said.  “Because if you plan far enough ahead, I believe there are reasonable ways to address that rather than wait for it to become a crisis.”

This is the second annual report from the state’s Council on Future Mobility.  Other topics focused on in the report include the need for a hyper-accurate map database and cybersecurity. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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