Overview of Autonomous Driving Regulations in the USA

While Germany was the first country in the world to pass a nationwide law on autonomous driving last year, other countries are not as far along, or there is some piecemealing.

Reuters published an overview of the status of regulations in the US states. Unsurprisingly, California leads the way with the most extensive regulations, due to the high concentration of companies involved in this technology development in California. But other states are also very advanced with related regulations. Some states have no specific regulations at all, and therefore tests with autonomous vehicles are automatically allowed there.

Autonomous driving regulations in U.S. states; as of June 16, 2022 – (C) Reuters Research

This fact makes Texas, for example, a center of tests with autonomous trucks, with which the mentioned Reuters article deals. Aurora, Kodiak, Gatik, TuSimple, or Waymo. Texas even passed a law in 2017 that even explicitly prohibits testing. Cities are not allowed to ban testing. Nor are there any special requirements, insurance, or notifications needed about testing.

California, on the other hand, requires proof of special insurance for the license, regular reporting for example in the form of the disengagement reports but also on accidents.

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Regulations and laws on autonomous driving are already in place in three-quarters of U.S. states, and California even stipulated that all autonomous vehicles must be zero-emission vehicles, for example electric cars, from 2030. Since California and Texas alone are larger than Germany in terms of area, and there are a total of around 2,500 autonomous vehicles on the road in the U.S., either in testing or already in commercial use, it is clear who has the lead here.

This article was also published in German.


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