Fort Worth State Rep Pushes Autonomous Car Testing

Charlie Geren's bill aims to expand driverless car testing in the state.

autonomous car

A state representative from North Texas has filed legislation that is the first step to having autonomous vehicles cruising the roadways of Texas.

Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, filed House Bill 3475 last week, which would allow car companies to expand the testing of the technology in the state. He also wants Texas to be an option as a place for production of autonomous cars.

“I don’t want General Motors, or Ford, or Volkswagen, or Uber or anybody going anywhere else because Texas isn’t quite ready for this yet,” Geren told The Texas Tribune.

“I don’t want General Motors, or Ford, or Volkswagen, or Uber or anybody going anywhere else because Texas isn’t quite ready for this yet.”
Charlie Geren

Although the use and testing of autonomous vehicles is not illegal in Texas, many car companies would prefer guidelines before testing on the open roads, and Geren knows the state is not ready yet to accommodate them. 

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers opposed a 2015 bill proposed by Sen. Rodney Ellis, (D-Houston). This bill was written in hopes of creating some safety guidelines and requirements for driverless cars, but it was stalled.

The Alliance did not specifically address Geren’s bill.

“If a state chooses to take legislative or regulatory action with respect to [autonomous vehicles], it is imperative that such action be focused on removing impediments to the safe testing and deployment of this technology,” Dan Gage, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told The Texas Tribune.

Geren’s bill would require the owner or operator of an autonomous vehicle to obtain a surety bond or insurance, worth $10 million. The vehicles would have to be able to operate in compliance with existing traffic laws and should be equipped with devices that provide data on the vehicle’s automated driving system, speed, direction, and location before at the time it’s involved in an accident.


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