Automakers each would be allowed to test up to 100,000 self-driving cars per year on U.S. roads, and states would be prevented from passing laws to prevent them from doing so under a bill advanced Thursday by a panel in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The measure, unanimously approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would allow the Secretary of Transportation to grant exemptions to federal motor vehicle rules that require cars to have human operators for 25,000 cars per automaker initially if automakers can prove they meet existing safety standards for traditional cars.
After a 12-month period, the number of exemptions per manufacturer would increase to 50,000, and it would go up to 100,000 in the third and fourth years.
The current limit for such exemptions to federal auto standards is 2,500 cars for two years at a time. Under the bill approved Thursday, exemptions to federal auto standards would be limited to three years at a time.
The measure was approved after a week of backroom negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on the panel over issues involving the number of test vehicles that would be exempt from federal safety standards requiring a human to be in control of the car and the length of time those exemptions would be good for.
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