Maryland's autonomous car prep enters fast lane - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jan. 23, 2017 12:09 pm

Maryland’s autonomous car prep enters fast lane

The General Assembly is considering a bill to regulate self-driving cars, while the federal government said Aberdeen is a testing ground.
An early Google self-driving car.

An early Google self-driving car.

(Photo by Flickr user Travis Wise, used under a Creative Commons license)

Maryland is making more moves to usher in autonomous vehicles.

The General Assembly is considering legislation that would allow the state to regulate the self-driving cars.

SB9 allows the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration to put rules in place for inspection and registration of the cars, as well as testing and operation of the vehicles on highways. The bill leaves a lot to the executive branch, as it’s only two pages long.

According to the Capital News Service, MVA officials were on board with this at a committee hearing last week.

“Autonomous vehicles would be tested on private facilities before they are testing on public roads,” MVA’s Christine Nizer said, according to CNS. “There’d be a robust process to make sure they are safe before they are put on the road.”

The legislation could be relevant a little sooner than it seems. The state also applied with the federal government seeking to make I-95 around Baltimore and the central part of the state into a testing ground for self-driving cars. While the full corridor wasn’t green-lighted, officials got some of what they wanted.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said that the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen was among the first 10 cleared sites for testing. (Psst, don’t tell the cars about that aerostat’s meandering quest for freedom.)

It was one of the final U.S. DOT acts under the Obama administration.

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