Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

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Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
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In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

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There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Driverless Shuttles Expected To Launch at U-M This Fall

Come Fall 2017, students at the University of Michigan (U-M) will be riding to class via self-driving shuttles! Nicknamed Arma, two fully automated and electric, 15-passenger shuttles will launch on U-M’s North Campus, transporting students, faculty, and staff between the engineering campus and the North Campus Research Complex on Plymouth Road. The Detroit Free Press emphasizes that the shuttles will be used to study how passengers react to regular vehicles on the road, as a way of gaining perspective on consumer acceptance of autonomous technology.

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The shuttles can travel up to 35 mph and are powered by a 33 kilowatt per hour battery pack that takes 5-8 hours to charge. They have seating capacity for nine people, but can fit more if passengers hold onto hand rails. The Arma shuttles use an advanced global positioning system to track information from up to 17 satellites and are accurate to the inch on roads, even proven to be reliable in light rain and snow that characterize much of Michigan’s weather. The driver-less vehicles will drive themselves on University of Michigan roadways, alongside regular cars driven by the public, on a 2 mile circular route, every 10 minutes.

The shuttles have been developed by Mcity, the University of Michigan’s public-private partnership for mobility research, and were manufactured by French firm Navya. Mcity is funded by the university, federal grants, and about 65 automakers and other companies. 

Huei Peng, the director of Mcity and a professor of mechanical engineering at U-M, said to the Detroit Free Press, “This first-ever automated shuttle service on campus is a critical research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it.” 

Peng commented that the shuttles are just the latest innovation from Mcity. “The university has a record of innovation in virtually every aspect of mobility...That breadth and depth are some of the reasons why we were so well-positioned to create Mcity and provide a safe, controlled environment for vehicle testing.” Mcity's website also explains to the public how autonomous vehicles operate, discussing radar, light direction, and cameras to gather data and utilize sensors for efficient and safe driving. 

Navya Technologies on the other hand, is a 2-year-old company based in Lyon, France. In June, the firm announced its plans to build the Arma shuttles at a new plant in Ann Arbor. Navya is aiming to build 20 vehicles by the end of this year and hopes to sell them to commercial buyers. 

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Henri Coron, Navya’s vice president for sales, said, “To create a market, we need a vision and a strong partner. The important thing is to create this market in the US.” It should be noted that Arma shuttles are already driven on roads around the world, having been designed for theme parks and large campus-like environments such as the University of Michigan. 

The autonomous shuttles will start by running on U-M roads during business hours. The main goal of testing the new shuttles is to monitor consumer interest and acceptance, at no cost to riders. There will be a safety monitor person in the vehicle at all times, along with emergency stop buttons for passengers to use if needed. 

The self-driving vehicle industry is fast-growing, and Michigan is continuing to prove that we are a step ahead of the pack. While the future of autonomous is very near, in the current driving environment, drivers must continue to pay attention to traffic rules and take safety precautions when riding in vehicles, including the Arma shuttle. The last thing anyone wants is to be injured in an automobile accident. Staying informed of new car technology developments, including the latest self-driving technology, can offer a better road experience for everyone, now and in the future. 


The University of Michigan is preparing to take another leap into the world of self-driving cars with the launch of autonomous shuttles on campus this fall. However, student safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road, will remain of utmost importance. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Ford To Create Artificial Intelligence Team for Autonomous Tech Development

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Ford Motor Company plans to accelerate its autonomous technology development by creating a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team. The original Detroit automaker fully understands the future of automobile technology and does not plan on missing out on the growing opportunities. Ken Washington, Ford's Vice President of research and advanced engineering and Chief Technology Officer, stated, “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous.”

So, to get ahead of the curve, Ford is collaborating with Argo AI, a startup artificial intelligence company. Argo was co-founded by Bryan Salesky, a former Google autonomous car project team member, and Peter Rander, an engineer for Uber. Per The Detroit News, Washington says that Ford's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team will work with Argo, who will lead the development and design of the brains of Ford’s self driving vehicles, in an effort to advance the automaker's autonomous technology. More specifically, Washington writes on his blog that the main functions of the team will be to evaluate and analyze vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods, and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and other aerial robotic mechanisms. The team will be working in Dearborn, Michigan with a small branch located next to University of Michigan’s MCity research center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

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Ford plans to have its self driving vehicle available to the market by 2021. The car will be fully autonomous, and will not include a steering wheel or pedals. Washington told The Detroit Free Press that they are making great progress toward their goal. He stated that the first fleet will most likely be released within the confines of a “geofence,” or virtual geographic boundary, inside a city or campus.

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However, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team may not only be limited to the advancement of autonomous technology. Ford plans to use the team for ergonomic research as well. The company wants robots to take the place of workers in roles that are more dangerous and life-threatening, in the hopes of reducing worker injuries and in building a safer working environment for all everyone. Aside from their work with Argo, Ford wants its team to continue building relationships with other startup companies and even lead projects with universities including Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Michigan, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and others.

Ford clearly has grand ambitions for the near future and is making bold moves to ensure that they will be successful in their driver-less car pursuits. While autonomous vehicles may help reduce the number of car accident fatalities in the future, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of highway crashes are currently caused by human error. So, until automakers like Ford are successful in implementing autonomous cars into our everyday lives, humans must remember to follow the rules of the road.


Ford should be proud of its Ford Fusion series, one of the main models that is being converted to become autonomous. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5 star safety rating, and the U.S. News gave it a 9.3 out of 10. It is important to note however that while these are excellent safety ratings, no vehicle is considered to be invincible. Any vehicle controlled by a human is potentially prone to being involved in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm helps car accidents identify and receive any benefits they may be intitled to, under Michigan law.

The Impact of Autonomous Cars on the US Economy

There has been continuous buzz about self-driving cars over the past few years, with successful tests and disastrous accidents alike, being reported in the news. There is no doubt that such a ground-breaking invention will change transportation norms throughout the United States, just as Henry Ford’s automobiles forever changed the way to get around the country.

In fact, Wired reports autonomous vehicles are expected to add $7 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 35 years, based on data from Intel and research company Strategy Analytics. This is no small number, considering just robotic cars alone could add $2 trillion to the nation's economy by 2050, not even taking into account the current jobs and businesses that will be affected financially. To put these numbers into perspective, $1 trillion could buy about 40 million new cars, according to Kiplinger. But what makes up this enormous number?

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Self-Driving Cars and Jobs

Autonomous cars are predicted to positively influence the economy in the coming years, but their impact will be spread unevenly across sectors. Companies like Google and GM who have invested in making this technology a reality, will see the most money. Then, for the average Joe, the industries that will likely see a rise in job demands include data analysis, IT, and mechanics. Just like our smart phones and credit cards, autonomous cars collect data on a driver's habits, which in turn creates jobs for humans who need to sort and analyze this data. Intel reports jobs in information technology (IT), though they will see a shift from actual discovery of information to the management of machines finding information, will almost double in intensity. Additionally, the number of miles driven is expected to rise, increasing the need for cars, self-driving or otherwise, to be repaired by mechanics. 

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On the other hand, there will also be a decline in jobs, especially for people working in the service industries. Jobs like food delivery and taxi services may no longer be needed with the use of self-driving cars. This brings into effect the concept that Intel and Strategy Analytics call "The Passenger Economy," an idea which places economic and societal value on pilotless vehicles. Essentially, why hire humans to do a job that cars can do on their own? While they profit either way, this is a question that companies like Uber will have to face when replacing human drivers with company vehicles. 

It should also be noted that self-driving cars may create jobs that are still unknown. After all, with new technologies come new jobs the market previously did not anticipate. On the flip side, new technologies could also make jobs that currently exist obsolete. No matter which sectors see an increase or decline in job security, the fact remains that the American economy will still receive an estimated $7 trillion economic boost (or even even bigger-no one can put an exact number on the future!) Just like the Model-T helped restructure city spaces and bring the suburbs into existence, autonomous vehicles have the ability to transform job markets. There are endless possibilities for economic reform.

Autonomous Car Regulations

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Though all the glory of creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the economy sounds appealing, it does not happen without the technology meeting all safety standards first. Which is why, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not counting their chickens before their eggs hatch. The NHTSA has released the Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, a document which, "outlines best practices for the safe design, development and testing of automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads." Included in this document is a 15-point safety assessment that requires manufacturers to meet objectives such as operational design, post-crash response, privacy, and cybersecurity before their cars can go to market. Considering that 94% of automobile crashes are due to human error, there is definitely room for technology to advance driver safety. Hopefully, if all autonomous vehicle manufacturers can meet the standards set by the NHTSA, this will be a step in the right direction to saving lives. 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

What does all this mean for people who are willing to give up their spot behind the wheel and let the car drive itself? (That is a scary thought for a lot of people!) Well, most people want more proof that these cars won't crash and will safely deliver them to their destination before they surrender the wheel. That is why companies who create autonomous car technology need to be regulated to ensure absolute safety in their products and so that consumers are not just paying for the newest trend in transportation. Put simply, this technology needs to save lives and be safer than the transportation methods we already have. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute said to Consumer Reports that “there’s no way that we as a society would accept self-driving cars that cause the same number of fatalities as humans.” 

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In 2015, there were roughly 35,000 traffic deaths in the United States. Future autonomous vehicles must allow for more safety if they are to replace human drivers. People also need to remember that transportation technology takes years of planning before it can be used in everyday lives, and that for now, only people can drive cars. Testing allows room for development and improvement, but overall “we expect machines to be better than us,” as Pratt said.

Until it's proven that autonomous vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles, humans need to be careful when driving on the road today. While we may one day be able to sleep while a car drives us around, we have to make sure that for now, we don't fall asleep behind the wheel! Sleepy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are bad human habits that can lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a car crash. By following the rules of the road and maintaining good driving habits, people can protect themselves from being involved in fatal car accidents. 

At the end of the day, it is impossible to plan the future or to predict how large of an impact autonomous vehicles will have on the economy or auto law. What we do know is that self-driving cars will add jobs, take away jobs, and, based on how well they are regulated, even save lives. 


Self-driving cars are growing closer to reality than we think due to the rapid development of technology. However, today, we still rely on people to drive vehicles, and as such, following the rules of the road is the best way to stay safe and to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been in involved in an auto accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Tesla Cars May Self-Drive Sleeping Owners in 2017

Autonomous vehicle technology isn't going anywhere. In fact, more and more companies are researching and testing self-driving technology. Back in May of 2015, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog introduced its readers to the Google Self-Driving Cars, which were a platoon of self-driving cars being tested on public roads in Mountain View, California. And just two weeks ago, we informed readers about sighting of GM's autonomous Chevy Bolt around San Francisco. High end sports cars, to affordable American car companies, to the company responsible for the world's most used search engine, everyone is getting into the autonomous car game. Last month, Elon Musk, the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), gave a TED Talk in which he discussed Tesla's goal for implementing self-driving technology. 

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In an exchange between Musk and TED owner Chris Anderson, Musk says, "I think we're still on track for being able to go cross-country from LA to New York by the end of the year, fully autonomous." Anderson seeks clarification by asking, "OK, so by the end of the year, you're saying, someone's going to sit in a Tesla without touching the steering wheel, tap in "New York," off it goes...Won't ever have to touch the wheel — by the end of 2017." Musk confidently tells Anderson, "Yeah. Essentially, November or December of this year, we should be able to go all the way from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey."

According to BGR, what makes Musk's statement so impressive is that the driver-less cross-country journey he thinks the Tesla vehicles will be capable of are not set to "a static route, which is to say that the Tesla vehicle will be able to adjust its route in real-time based on traffic patterns. What's more, Mush said that the vehicle would even be able to handle a change in destination on the fly." Musk says, "...certainly once you enter a highway, to go anywhere on the highway system in a given country. So it's not sort of limited to LA to New York. We could change it and make it Seattle-Florida, that day, in real time. So you were going from LA to New York. Now go from LA to Toronto."

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While Tesla's goal to "not have the driver touch the wheel by the end of 2017," is impressive, even more astonishing is Musk's ambition to allow drivers to "be able to buy one of your cars and literally just take the hands off the wheel and go to sleep and wake up and find that they've arrived," in two years time.

Musk made a counterpoint to his own idea by saying, "So the real trick of it is not how do you make it work say 99.9 percent of the time, because, like, if a car crashes one in a thousand times, then you're probably still not going to be comfortable falling asleep...but if you say it's perhaps — the car is unlikely to crash in a hundred lifetimes, or a thousand lifetimes, then people are like, OK, wow, if I were to live a thousand lives, I would still most likely never experience a crash, then that's probably OK."

Tesla Semi-truck

As if fully autonomous cars that drivers can sleep in weren't a tall enough order, Musk also plans to announce an electric Tesla Semi-truck in September, which he claims, "actually can out-torque any diesel semi." And if Tesla's autonomous technology is a success in their cars, perhaps like Otto, Musk will start testing autonomous semis as well, (if he hasn't already)!


While we soon may be able to fall asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla, falling asleep while operating a vehicle will likely result in a motor vehicle accident today. Though fully self-driving cars are in the near future, the world is currently still dependent on ordinary human controlled vehicles. As such, human error is still a cause for concern on roadways, as car accidents are possible. If you or someone you know has been involved in a collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Autonomous Semi-Trucks Drive on Michigan Highway For First Time

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For the first time ever, four autonomous semi-trucks were tested on Interstate 69 in Lapeer and St. Clair Counties in Michigan in July, 2016. The test was done by the U.S Army Tank Automotive Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) alongside the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC, told MLive that the testing, which included tracking the response of the vehicles to commands, represented “an opportunity for the U.S Army to leverage the technology and capability within this state.” The testing is also helping set federal standards and expectations while government leaders continue to craft legislation to make the possibility of driverless cars a reality on the roadways.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the event “the intersection of two wonderful initiatives we have going in the state to really talk the strengths of our state and the opportunities how we can help our country and the world...We’re moving forward on how we can deploy this is a safe fashion on our public roadways and bring this technology to bear to make Michigan a true leader,” Snyder said. Snyder also pointed out the progress being made at the University of Michigan’s MCity and the upcoming “Planet M” campaign. The growth of the driverless car industry will impact the Michigan economy as well. According to Lt. Governor Brian Calley the initiatives will employ approximately 100,000 residents and will allow Michigan to become a leader in the mobility industry outside of the auto industry. 

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Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, is excited about the possibilities of drawing the industry to the state. “We see opportunities for more research and development teams to be on the ground supporting that kind of activity,” Karcher said.

The obvious potential impact with the growth of driverless cars is increased safety. Kirk Steudle, Director of MDOT, said that autonomous technology can help cut down traffic deaths by 80%. MDOT has a goal of 350 miles worth of fiber optic lines being put in place by 2018, making Michigan the largest test bed in the United States for mobility research. 


While driverless cars may cut down on traffic accidents in the future, they are still too frequent on the road today. Injuries as minor as a few scratches or as severe as a closed head injury can change your day-to-day routine and your way of life. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will identify the help you are entitled too and will not rest until your case has been resolved. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Regulators Battle Advancements in Self-Driving Vehicles

One of the biggest questions facing the rise of the driverless car is “how safe is safe enough?” Government regulators and auto companies are working together to figure out the best way to create safety standards and regulations for driverless cars of different models and manufacturers. 

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Many believe the answer to the previously stated question, “how safe is safe enough?” will be, constantly flexible. This meas that the standards and regulations will be changing as the technology becomes more advanced. “Today everybody expects a regulation comes out and that’s what it is forever. That will not work,” Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said at a Telematics Update conference in Novi. Although the NHTSA will be releasing guidelines in the upcoming months that will serve as short-term rules of the road, Rosekind believes those will be changing quickly. 

Rosekind has admitted that the technology will change faster than regulator’s ability to make new rules, and that is one of the main challenges facing regulators. The Detroit Free Press reports that most vehicles that are testing for full autonomy (Level 4) are limited to testing grounds only, such as Mcity in Ann Arbor or other private test areas. One of the challenges to limited these types of self-driving vehicles to testing grounds is that a short drive around the track may not translate to a safe operating system for thousands of miles. 

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Level 2, or semi-autonomous, features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and forward collision avoidance has proved to be effective and safe, but the path to full autonomy is long and winding. Tesla has been at the forefront of self-driving technology, and they recently introduced an “Autopilot” feature which allows the driver to relinquish control of the vehicle. The Detroit Free Press however reported an incident involving a Tesla Model X which crashed into a commercial building in Irvine, California. The driver claims that the car accelerated on its own from its parking space, but Tesla stated that the vehicle logs showed the Autopilot feature was not active at the time of the crash. 

One of the questions James Fackler, Assistant Administrator in the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, and Jude Hurin, head of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, are discussing is whether self-driving vehicles should change the standards for who can obtain a driver’s license. “Michigan is taking the approach of ‘Let’s start slow.’  If there is someone behind the wheel, let’s make sure they are not technically unable to operate it. Some people outside the regulatory community say ‘Well, you’re standing in the way of future technology.’ But I want to make sure that if something does happen to this car that the person who is there is ready to take over,” Fackler explained. 


Motor vehicle accidents can be life changing events. Many victims begin to see their medical bills start to pile up, and they are too injured to work in order to pay those bills. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys understand the financial and emotional burden that is put on auto accident victims, and they will work alongside you to find relief. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

U.S. Safety Regulators Pumping the Brakes on Self-Driving Technology

There a few speed bumps that innovators and manufacturers of self-driving cars are going to face before they become mainstream, and it appears one of those will be the government. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx said that he would like to see government regulators and the auto industry work closely together to vigorously test the safety standards of autonomous vehicles before people entrust their safety in the car. 

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The Detroit News reported that Foxx told about 1,200 people at a self-driving convention in San Francisco that robotic controls need to be reviewed more to make sure the DOT and manufacturers are “in sync” before the vehicles hit the road. “This could help assure consumers that the vehicles that they are getting into are stress tested." Foxx also warned automakers to assume drivers will be tempted to take foolish risks while on the road when they activate the autonomous features in a car, which makes it extremely important to design vehicles that minimize the opportunity for disaster. “Sometimes the coolness of technology may drive people to try to push the limits of what the manufacturers intended,” Foxx explained. 

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Self-Driving technology has come under some pressure as of late. Three weeks prior to Foxx’s remarks, Joshua Brown of Canton, Ohio died in May after his Tesla crashed into a truck while using a semi-autonomous feature called “Autopilot.” Brown died after neither he nor the Autopilot feature braked for a truck which was making a left turn near a highway, according to Tesla and federal investigators. Many are pointing to Brown’s death as a prime example of why self-driving cars are simply not ready to go out on the streets. “Autopilot’s failure is a poster child for why enforceable safety standards are needed, not useless voluntary guidelines,” Joan Claybrook of Consumer Watchdog wrote in a letter to Tesla. 

Tesla has consistently defended it’s self-driving features, citing that Brown’s crash was the first death in more than 130 million miles of driving with the Autopilot feature activated. Even with more testing, Foxx is doubtful that self-driving cars will eliminate all accidents. The goal, he stated, is an 80% reduction in the frequency of accidents, which are mostly caused by human error or negligence. Foxx has said that he plans to propose federal government guidelines for self-driving vehicles later this summer, and self-driving cars are still being tested in several states. 


Self-Driving cars aren't predicted to be the norm on the roads for another decade or two, so it's important that drivers are always aware and paying attention to the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will work with you to identify the help you need as they work towards settling your case. If a settlement can't be reached, our team is ready to take your case to court. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Volvo Projects Completely Autonomous Cars by 2020

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Volvo is hoping to put its money where its mouth is, in the very near future. The Swedish car manufacturer told Tech Insider its autonomous systems will have the capabilities and safety features to be able to operate without driver supervision by the year 2020. This prediction differs from those of many other auto companies who have promised semi-autonomous vehicles (cars in which the driver still needs to pay attention to the road), in the same time frame. 

Volvo is using Nvidia’s GPU-based “Deep-Learning” system with its “DriveMe” program, which will be launched in London, Gothenburg, Sweden, and a handful of cities in China, by 2017. Families who wish to participate in the program will be asked to drive the Volvos in varying road and traffic conditions, as well as different terrains. During their drive, the Deep-Learning system will be able to capture data and sync it with the software, allowing the vehicle to learn and become smarter the more it drives. Drivers will need to supervise the driving during the test runs, but it will be a major step towards having completely autonomous vehicles. 

“What is unique with DriveMe, is that we are not only building a concept car or doing demos, we are really doing research to help us understand how we can bring self-driving cars to the real world, to public roads with ordinary customers behind the wheel,” Erik Coelingh, Senior Technical Leader for Safety and Driver Support Technologies told Digital Trends, “...by accomplishing that objective, we will learn about the reality of self-driving cars, that it’s not just a fantasy. We will learn about technology, we will learn about the human factors, and how self-driving cars will impact society.” 

Volvo DriveMe Autonomous Car

According to Volvo, their projections show that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars. The car company also believes advantages of self-driving cars will be in the areas of safety, congestion, pollution, and time-savings. “Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner (self-driving) cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved,” Volvo CEO and President Hakan Samuelsson said. 

Unfortunately, for those living in the United States Volvo has stated that there are no plans at this time to include road testing in America due to the different laws and guidelines in the 50 states, which make it near impossible to complete thorough testing. 


Self-Driving cars are well on their way to becoming a mainstay in everyday transportation. In the meantime, drivers are at risk of being injured in an auto accident every time they get behind the wheel. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Injuries from these accidents can range from bruises to head injuries, and they may not even present themselves immediately following the crash. Our attorneys will work with you to identify the appropriate help you may need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.