Autonomous tech: 4 key definitions from the US legislation

Interest in driverless cars has led to a flurry of recent legislative activity. Nevada was the first state to authorize the operation of autonomous vehicles in 2011. Since then, 21 states in the US have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles.

In this post, we will look at four critical definitions of the AV provided in laws and regulations that have been enacted to date.

Nevada

Enacted: June 2011, revised July 1, 2013.

Definition of AVs:Autonomous technology” means technology which is installed on a motor vehicle and which has the capability to drive the motor vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a human operator. The term does not include a dynamic safety system or a system for driver assistance, including, without limitation, a system to provide electronic blind-spot detection, crash avoidance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, lane departure warning, or traffic jam and queuing assistance, unless any such system, alone or in combination with any other system, enables the vehicle on which the system is installed to be driven without the active control or monitoring of a human operator.

Florida

Enacted: April 2012.

Definition of AVs: “Autonomous technology” means technology installed on a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control of or monitoring by a human operator (Florida Statutes, 2012). Excludes vehicles “enabled with active safety systems or driver assistance systems, including, without limitation, a system to provide electronic blind-spot assistance, crash avoidance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, lane departure warning, or traffic jam and queuing assistant, unless any such system alone or in combination with other systems enables the vehicle on which the technology is installed to drive without the active control or monitoring by a human operator” (Florida House of Representatives, 2012).

California

Enacted: September 2012.

Definition of AVs: “‘Autonomous technology’ is defined as technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring of a human operator” (California Vehicle Code, 2012). “Autonomous vehicle” means any “vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle. Does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, including, but not limited to, electronic blind-spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam and queuing assist, or other similar systems that enhance safety or provide driver assistance, but are not capable, collectively or singularly, of driving the vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a human operator.”

Washington, D.C.

Enacted: January 2013.

Definition of AVs: “A vehicle capable of navigating District roadways and interpreting traffic-control devices without a driver actively operating any of the vehicle’s control systems.” “Excludes a motor vehicle enabled with active safety systems or driver assistance systems, including crash avoidance, provide electronic blind-spot assistance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, lane departure warning, or traffic jam and queuing assistance, unless a system alone or in combination with other systems enables the vehicle on which the technology is installed to drive without active control or monitoring by a human operator” (District of Columbia, 2013).

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