Michigan governor signs bills allowing driverless vehicles in state

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LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing the testing of automated motor vehicles on state roadways.

"Michigan is the automotive capital of the world," Snyder said. "By allowing the testing of automated, driverless cars today, we will stay at the forefront in automotive technological advances that will make driving safer and more efficient in the future."

Snyder said companies and universities in Michigan are leading the way in programs aimed at driverless cars.

This legislation, he said, is key to the future of research and development of automotive technology in the state.

Senate Bill 169, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Kowall, allows automakers and upfitters to test automated motor vehicles, but requires a human to be in the driver's seat to monitor performance and intervene if necessary.

A companion measure, SB 663, also sponsored by Kowall, protects original manufacturers from civil liability for damages caused by modified autonomous vehicles, unless the defect from which the damages resulted was present in the vehicle when it was manufactured.

The bills are now Public Acts 231 and 251 of 2013.

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