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Google, GM Urge Congress to Clarify Self-driving Car Regulations

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March 16, 2016—Google, General Motors and other technology and automotive companies urged Congress on Tuesday to ease regulations and clarify rules on self-driving cars, according to a report from Law360.

Top executives from General Motors Co., Google Inc., Delphi Automotive PLC and Lyft Inc. argued that a patchwork of state regulations is hindering the rapid advancement of autonomous vehicle technology, which they said were still several years away from mass market for the sake of ensuring safety. They told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation the federal government should lay out a national blueprint that clarifies the rules for safely implementing self-driving cars. 

"If every state is left to go its own way, it'd be extremely impracticable to operate [self-driving cars] across state boundaries," said Chris Urmson, Google X’s director of self-driving cars Chris.

Urmson said 53 pieces of legislation have been introduced in 23 states in the past two years, making an “unworkable” situation. He said the transportation secretary should have authority to permit the deployment of innovative safety technologies that meet or exceed the level of safety required by existing federal standards, while ensuring a prompt and transparent process. 

GM’s commitment to self-driving cars has been proven by its recent acquisition of self-driving startup, Cruise Automation, and its $500 million investment in Lyft in order to create an autonomous, car-sharing fleet. 

Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, acknowledged that the patchwork of state and federal laws is standing in the way of autonomous vehicle advancement.

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