Michigan preparing to allow for public sales, operation of self-driving cars

– Auto-centric Michigan is preparing for the advent of self-driving cars by pushing legislation to allow for public sales and operation — not just testing only, the Associated Press reports.

While the widespread use of driverless cars may be years away, lawmakers and transportation leaders say the technology is progressing so rapidly that Michigan must stay ahead of the curve or risk losing automotive research and development to other states.

Michigan is among seven states with laws related to autonomous cars, while Arizona’s governor has issued an executive order. Nevada was the first state to authorize self-driving vehicles in 2011.

Michigan’s Department of Transportation worked with legislators to develop the bills, which also have support from the state’s economic development officials. Gov. Rick Snyder is “very supportive” of the concept, a spokesman says.