Greg Abbott, the Texas Governor, signed a law, giving permission to automakers and companies like Uber and Google to test autonomous vehicles on the roads and highways across the state. In fact, self-driving cars were always legal in Texas, as actually, no law ever existed here to somehow restrict their utilization on public roads.
Waymo, formerly Google self-driving project company, has been testing driverless cars in Texas for quite a while. Besides, the U.S. Department of Transportation chose a number of sites in Texas to conduct autonomous driving tests in close-curse surroundings. So, because there was a certain lacuna in the law concerning the promising tech, some car producers and other companies worried that testing the emerging technology along public roads and highways will have some judicial issues. The new legislation is just intended to make those tests explicitly legal, helping the companies concerned to feel more confident.
Like in all states, Texas law requires autonomous vehicles to keep to some set of rules. All the participants must provide insurance, and must be liable for any accidents. Every tested self-driving vehicle must have video recording capabilities. There is one difference, though. In Texas, there is no requirement for a human driver on board like in all the other 18 states having the similar legislation. Many car producers welcomed the new law even though it does not assign any liability to them. But at any rate, they are sure that their products are allowed to participate in the road tests.
Up until recently, all the legal initiative on self-driving cars was concentrated at the local level because a number of states partially did it to allow more jobs from the companies in this prospective business. Besides, lawmakers believe the new technology to be capable to drastically reduce road fatalities. Moreover, some experts think that autonomous driving will provide a transportation option for disabled citizens. Thus, driven by local legislative bodies, federal authorities took over the initiative, and as of today, some legislation to regulate autonomous driving is being drafted in the House and the Senate.
Actually, according to Reuters, the House bill is criticized for possible barring states from creating their own local laws meaning that all local legislative initiatives could be replaced by the federal laws. Nevertheless, many experts agree that the emerging innovative technology has immense potential to provide safety on the roads and enhance the quality of life for lots of people nationwide.