The U.S. Senate is set to pass a self-driving vehicle bill, and like similar legislation in the U.S. House passed early in September, it excludes commercial vehicles. The Senate bill will not include vehicles larger than 10,000 pounds, Reuters reported.
The bill, expected to be voted on during the Senate’s Oct. 5 session, is a compromise bill between Democrats and Republicans with its passage expected.
“While this Senate self-driving vehicle legislation still has room for further changes, it is a product of bipartisan cooperation we both stand behind,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who introduced the legislation, in a joint statement.
The American Trucking Associations is disappointed in the exclusion of trucks, President Chris Spear said in a statement obtained by Reuters. “[This] “is not the end of the road for this issue. If more automated cars and trucks are to share the roads, they should also share the same framework.”
It is unclear what the actual bill includes, but the original draft of the bill included removing barriers to manufacturing self-driving vehicles, more safety oversight of manufacturers, efforts to improve law enforcement and cybersecurity protections.
The U.S. House’s bill allowed manufacturers to produce 25,000 self-driving cars in year one up to 100,000 by year three.
Did you know?
There are about 400,000 owner-operators in the U.S., 36% of which served in the military. And while dry vans are the most common trailer hauled by truckers, more owner-operators pull flatbeds and refrigerated trailers than van trailers, according to OOIDA.
“America is finally back on the right track, but our country and our economy can’t take off like they should unless we transform America's complex and extremely burdensome tax code. We need a tax code that encourages companies to stay in America, grow in America and hire in America.”
- President Donald Trump, to manufacturers, on his tax plan
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News late last week that the U.S. Senate has reached a deal on a bill guiding self-driving vehicle development is tempered by the fact that it too, like its House counterpart, excludes autonomous commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds. Given the expectation that drivers will be part of any autonomous vehicle operation for many, many years to come, excluding commercial vehicles is not only a setback for the industry. It remains to be seen if this will impact the deployment of platoon vehicles in anyway.
Hammer down everyone!