Nebraska wants in on self-driving car boom

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Nebraska is eager to become a self-driving car development hub. State legislators presented on Tuesday two measures aimed at creating an environment friendly to driverless cars.

Nebraska has two competing proposals under consideration. The first, championed by Senator Tyson Larson, would allow for state-wide testing of driverless cars, but with a human in the driver’s seat to take over if something goes wrong. The second, put forth by Senator Anna Wishart, would limit the cars to the capital city of Lincoln, where a tourist-friendly historic district and the state’s flagship public university are located.

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“I want a statute that not only allows it, but allows the technology to grow,” Larson told the Associated Press. “As with any new technology, you don’t want to pass a bill that’s too restrictive.” Lobbyists for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers caution, however, that regulations may have unforeseen side effects that inhibit the technology’s growth.

If it passes, the legislation will welcome autonomous vehicles on Nebraska streets in preparation for the technology’s expected growth in the coming decades. So far, California and Michigan have been leaders in allowing for self-driving cars—hardly a surprise given the states’ concentrations of tech and automotive industries.

If either bill passes, Nebraska will be the twenty-second state to have a law on the books regulating self-driving vehicles.



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