Legislation that would set the stage for large-scale testing and potential deployment of autonomous vehicles appears poised to become law within months, with support from lawmakers in both parties as well as from car makers and tech companies. But the prospect of the new federal law has alarmed some city officials, who are worried the bill doesn’t do enough to ensure self-driving vehicles are safe around pedestrians and cyclists.
Called the AV START Act, the bill would expand the number of autonomous cars each manufacturer could sell or test on roads, from 2,500 to 80,000 over the next few years. It passed through a key U.S. Senate committee last week. While it still has to pass the full Senate and be reconciled with a version that passed the House of Representatives last month, lobbyists and policy experts expect approval.