Congress plans to try again on self-driving car legislation

Congress may revisit an overhaul to federal rules for self-driving cars when it reconvenes early next month.

House and Senate committees are looking for comments from the public and automakers to standardize federal rules for testing and selling self-driving cars and cars with semi-autonomous driver-assistance features, Automotive News reported last week. Congress is scheduled to return to regular session Sept. 9.

The proposed legislation would preempt states’ rules that have created an uneven patchwork of regulations for self-driving cars from state to state. Previous efforts by Congress have stalled before; legislators didn’t form a consensus for self-driving rules and in some cases, Congress adjourned without moving the bill along in either chamber.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have rules in place for self-driving cars and a handful of others have executive actions in place with varying levels of exemptions for public road use for testing. If passed, a federal bill could virtually level the playing field—and allow travel across state borders via interstate highways in self-driving cars.