Planet M logo

Planet M

Legislation, Policy & Regulation

Since 2013, the Michigan Legislature has been an active partner in the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle testing.

Senate Bill 169, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in December 2013, allows for the testing of driverless cars on Michigan roads. The law comes with certain stipulations, such as a licensed driver must be behind the wheel at all times and be ready to take over control.

Additional Legislation to update Michigan's law was introduced with strong bi-partisan support in 2016. Five key provisions are at the forefront of these bills:

  1. Allows open operation beyond testing by repealing the test only restriction. The goal is recognizing testing of autonomous vehicles is quickly advancing through controlled environments, and we are entering the stage where more routine test on public streets and highways will be desired.
  2. Allows on-demand automated vehicle networks to link passengers and various forms of transportation with automated vehicles. Customers will be able to request a ride by using the cellphones to connect to a network operator. The operator will direct a vehicle to the customer location and then onto a desired destination. The goal is to eventually provide this ride autonomously or without a human operator in the vehicle.
  3. Allows vehicle platoons where vehicles can travel together with electronically coordinated speeds. The goal is to allow fleets of vehicle to move in coordinated trips taking advantage of efficiencies in fuel consumption and operations.
  4. Establishes the American Center for Mobility at the former Willow Run plant into state law. The goal is to provide a world class research facility that will build on the intense activity already seen at MCity, and provides real world conditions in weather, road conditions and traffic situations for researchers.
  5. Penalizes persons who hack or damage autonomous vehicles to impair the technology or gain unauthorized control of the vehicle. The goal is to penalize those who would abuse autonomous technology for mischief or more serious public safety situations.

In addition, there are related amendments including the creation of the Council on Future Mobility to continually update policy makers on future changes needed to remove statutory and regulatory barriers.

Autonomous vehicle research would have significant legal barriers lowered or removed in Michigan. The use of autonomous vehicles depends on the development of technology rather than statutory limits.