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Senate Committee Changes Self-Driving Vehicles Bill

Brandon Smith
IPB News

A Senate committee made changes Tuesday to a bill regulating autonomous vehicles. The bill’s Senate sponsor says the amendment seeks to find a middle ground between self-driving car manufacturers and those who want tighter controls on the industry.

Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield) says his change to the bill would treat existing and new manufacturers differently. The original legislation required all self-driving auto manufacturers to receive state approval to operate and test the vehicles on Indiana roads.

Crider says those with federal approval shouldn’t have to get the state’s OK.

“They have been testing," Crider says. "They are active players in the game in other states.”

But Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso), the bill’s author, says existing manufacturers shouldn’t be exempt from state oversight.

“They want unlimited, unfettered access to every street, road, and bridge with no safety standards. And their answer is ‘trust us,’” Soliday says.

The original bill also required vehicles with higher levels of automation to have drivers in them. Crider’s amendment eliminates that requirement.

The bill is headed to the Senate floor.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.