States leading with regulations to promote innovation, deployment of autonomous vehicles

Last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released guidelines calling for blanket regulation with an emphasis on safety.

But the real action is in states where state lawmakers are providing a template for legislative and regulation, said Joshua Baca of DDC Public Affairs. Michigan is latest example that provides the framework for testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

If states follow Michigan’s lead, they will provide the foundation to continue innovation in this space. And non-uniform policies will create a natural state-to-state competition for where companies will test and deploy their autonomous vehicles.

Uber was recently roadblocked in California, when it refused to apply and pay for autonomous vehicle testing permits required under state law. In response, Uber packed up and is moving their testing operation to Arizona.

In June 2016, DDC Public Affairs conducted an online survey of 500 registered voters, in partnership with the research partner Axis Research, to better understand the political environment surrounding AVs. DDC asked voters who they trusted to bring this technology to market, domestic automakers had the strongest support, with General Motors and Ford leading the pack.

The action in Michigan will likely be the first of many states to address this emerging issue.