The Governor, Greg Abbot, of Texas has signed a bill that allows the likes of Waymo, Uber, and other carmakers to legally test self-driving cars without a driver present. This marks a significant stake in the ground as Texas has created a baseline in which what needs to be included in the test for this to work.
The law, dubbed SB 2205, was enacted last Thursday and will go into effect on the 1st of September 2017. The law will supersede any city or county laws that would seek to place tighter restrictions. Not many states and cities have allowed for driverless testing of autonomous vehicles citing safety issues especially when the technology isn’t mature enough.
In Texas, companies are welcome to driverless testing on state roads and highways as long as they meet these criteria.
- All self-driving cars have to obey existing traffic laws in the state
- All cars have to carry insurance
- All cars have to record video (almost a given)
- Manufacturers have to accept liability as long as the self-driving technology isn’t unmodified
Not everyone is for this bill as AAA wants the minimum insurance coverage to be at least $1million and they still want to push that there must be a driver present. But other groups say that this will push for faster technology advancements and will provide alternative means of transportation to Texans in the future especially for the disabled.