The Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has signed legislation that permits “self-driving” cars on the state’s roads — but, as you might guess, there’s a catch.
Under the new rules, self-driving cars will need to be “M”-tagged, just like all the Aston Martin press loaners in the Road&Track parking lot. The manufacturers of the original, unmodified vehicles won’t be liable for damage that is done by the modified, autonomous version. This seems like it should be obvious — is Honda liable now for what so-called ricer Integra GS-Rs do? — but it was apparently both important and controversial.
The law also requires that there be a human being present in the driver’s seat just in case it all goes wrong. This job — driver of driverless car — will no doubt join “job-bank union worker” in the Pantheon of highly-desirable do-nothing auto-industry jobs, although my favorite occupation of this type is “tire tester” at the TRC outside Marysville, Ohio. You just drive a truck around the banking for eight hours at a time. There’s no steering input required because the banking steers the car for you, so many people bring books and prop said books up against the steering wheel so they can read while they drive. Yes, your humble author applied for this job twenty years ago, and yes, he was rejected for being under-qualified.