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News   September 15, 2016   by CARS Magazine

New legislation could limit autonomous ride-sharing businesses within Michigan

New Michigan legislation may prohibit companies such as Google from operating autonomous ride-sharing businesses in the state, and the company has since asked a House committee to amend such language in the bills.

John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, in a letter to the Michigan House Communications and Technology Committee, asked the committee to amend two self-driving bills to ensure the company could compete in the state.

“While the current bill coming out of the Senate may be suitable for traditional motor vehicle manufacturers, we are concerned that ambiguities in two of the definitions in SB 995 and SB 997 could be read to exclude other innovative AV (autonomous vehicle) technology companies such as Google from operating in the state,” Krafcik wrote in a letter released on Sept. 13.

The bills, as passed by the Senate last week, define autonomous vehicle manufacturers to have “distributed motor vehicles” in the U.S. before being allowed to operate an autonomous ride-sharing business in Michigan. Google says some may interpret that to exclude companies such as the tech company because it does not currently sell vehicles.

Krafcik, in the letter, called the amendments “crucial” to “ensure that investment and deployment of AV technology is not inadvertently discouraged in the state, and that Michigan residents benefit from all manufacturers’ contributions to AV technology and safety.”

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