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Four senators introduce bill that would disable automated driving systems and require a human driver

Posted in News

Minnesota Senators File Bill to Ban Self-Driving Cars
Four senators introduce bill that would disable automated driving systems and require a human driver

— Four Minnesota senators have introduced a bill that would ban self-driving cars from state highways and roads unless the automated driving systems are disabled and humans perform all the driving tasks.

Senators Jim Abeler, John A. Hoffman, Rich Draheim and Carrie Ruud filed the bill after an Arizona woman was hit and killed by a self-driving Volvo SUV owned and tested by ride-hailing company Uber.

Although video of the crash shows the woman walking into the lane of the SUV, autonomous technology on the Uber should have easily spotted the woman and at the least slowed the SUV.

But according to the video and police reports, the SUV never tried to avoid the pedestrian and the human driver sitting behind the wheel did absolutely nothing to avoid the crash.

The Minnesota senators likely watched the ordeal involving Arizona Governor Doug Ducey who had welcomed Uber and other self-driving companies with open arms and lax regulations in an effort to bring business to the state.

However, the Phoenix crash caused Ducey to suspend Uber's ability to test autonomous technology in the state, although the suspension doesn't apply to other companies.

It's a good bet Senator Abeler and the others are trying to start a serious conversation about how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in Minnesota.

The Minnesota bill describes the terms and definitions that apply to self-driving technology, starting with prohibited "automated driving systems." Those systems use hardware and software that are capable of all driving tasks without any intervention or supervision by a human.

Those tasks are steering, braking, monitoring the road and vehicles, accelerating, responding to events and all aspects of driving except "strategic aspects of driving" such as determining destinations.

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