National and state lawmakers play catch-up on self-driving vehicles

National and state lawmakers play catch-up on self-driving vehicles. (Stephen Wozny)

The North American International Auto Show is featuring a slate of self-driving cars, including a Ford Fusion that delivers pizza to your door, but national and state lawmakers are playing catch-up on legislation.

Political Reporter Nick Minock went to Detroit where auto leaders are racing to get autonomous vehicles on the market.

A self-driving car that delivers food right to your home could be the car of tomorrow, as auto leaders work to get this car on the road, lawmakers are trying to play catch up.

Lawmakers are noticing how quickly the new era of mobility is accelerating at the North American International Auto Show.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said, “It's actually coming quicker than we would think."

Stabenow says Michigan is becoming the world hub for creating self-driving cars.

She said, “In Michigan, right now, it's the leader. It's our people that are designing this new technology."

Now that self-driving cars are here, federal and state laws are going to have to change.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said, “Basically all our federal laws assume that there is a human being in charge of the automobile. That means things are required like a steering wheel or brake pedals. These cars will not have either, so you need to rewrite all of those regulations."

For starters, Peters is working on bi-partisan legislation to create a space where self-driving cars can be tested on public roads.

He said, “When they get out on the road, we can collect data, and that will inform the regulations that will ultimately be in place in the long term."

He says self-driving vehicles have tremendous safety advantages.

At the state level, lawmakers want to make sure the technology in these cars don't get hacked and put your life at risk.

State Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Portage, said, “While new laws are being considered, Governor Snyder's administration is working to build a new workforce so Michigan can build the new cars of tomorrow.”

Michigan Lt Gov. Brian Calley said, “In the mobility industry there are literally new progressions being created every day. This is going to be the future for us, so number one, is having the best talent."

The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to release new guidelines on self-driving vehicles in 2018 and many lawmakers hope those guidelines incorporate a balances between innovation and safety.

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