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Florida’s new bill lets driverless cars be tested with minimal restrictions

All companies need is insurance and the ability to remotely monitor the vehicle

Presently, there are few places where a company can test out its self-driving cars without the requirement of a human safety driver in the car ready to intervene, California being chief among them. The trouble with places like California is that they require a lot of governmental oversight and special permits, and it’s all very complicated and expensive.

Enter Florida, according to a report Thursday by Automotive News.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 311 into law at Florida’s SunTrax, a dedicated transportation research and development center. Also in attendance were the bill’s sponsors, including Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jason Fischer.

“We here in Florida are pioneering the most exciting innovations in transportation,” Fischer said in a statement. “This bill on self-driving cars will usher in a new era of smart cities that will not only expand our economy but increase road safety and decrease traffic congestion.”

In addition to allowing testing autonomous cars without a driver, HB311 lifts other restrictions, permitting things like “active display” of TV or video in the car.

Frankly, it could be more than a little concerning, particularly when you look at situations like Uber’s fatal crash in Arizona and the amount of time, money and effort that companies like Waymo have had to spend to get to the point where they can safely operate a Level 4 autonomous vehicle on a public road.

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