Don Walton
Lincoln Journal Star

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers on Tuesday saluted Nebraska as a state that “welcomes new technology and supports innovation” following its enactment of legislation authorizing driverless vehicles to operate on its roadways.

The legislation introduced by Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln makes Nebraska “a national leader in enhancing highway safety,” Alliance President and CEO Mitch Bainwol said.

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Wishart’s bill (LB989) into law this week.

The alliance is an association that represents 12 of the largest car manufacturers, which make 77 percent of all car and light truck sales in the United States. It is the leading advocacy group for the auto industry.

“This type of policy is needed because automated vehicles are an important step in our work to use technology to bring down the country’s more than 30,000 roadway fatalities annually,” the alliance stated.”This legislation will serve as a base allowing the state flexibility while establishing guidelines and maintaining accountability.”

Wishart had argued the proposal would “make Nebraska one of the leaders” in helping develop the new technology of autonomous vehicles.

The bill initially would have authorized Lincoln to operate four driverless downtown shuttles as part of an experimental pilot project.

But it was broadened on the floor of the Legislature to authorize driverless vehicles to operate on roads statewide.

Wishart said the broad scope of the legislation gives Nebraska an opportunity to lead the way.

Original article here