- The Michigan legislature approved the presence and purchase of fully autonomous cars on Michigan’s roads as the market for driverless technology grows, The Detroit News reported Monday.
- The new legislation aims to siphon investment to Michigan by clearing a path for testing and implementation as soon as new technology is available.
- Currently, auto companies, ride-hail services and other autonomous car leaders can test autonomous vehicles with a driver present. The General Motors CEO told The Detroit News the bill will allow for more speedy development of the technology in the state.
Legislation, or the lack thereof, can often deter innovation — but Michigan's newest package of legislation is designed to roll requirements along with the speed of innovation, reflecting the importance of the auto industry to the state.
And if any industry is slated for change, it is the automobile industry.
According to Crain's, supporters tout the measures as necessary to keep the U.S. auto industry's home state ahead of the curve on rapidly advancing technology. The move is also seen as an economic development measure to keep and attract research and development jobs in the state, CNN reported in August.
While much of the automobile hardware and manufacturing process will remain untouched, the demand and hype around self-driving cars is making companies reconsider their connected-car strategy. BlackBerry, for example, recently became a Tier 1 supplier for Ford, and Samsung just announced it would enter the automotive industry as well.
Driverless cars may still be years away, but the shifts in the automotive supply chain that will facilitate have already started. Michigan's willingness to co-operate will likely ensure the state remains at the heart of this chain.