AI Regulations for Autonomous Vehicles [Updated 2024]

January 31, 2024
Authored by
Anisha Chadha
Legal Researcher at Holistic AI
AI Regulations for Autonomous Vehicles [Updated 2024]

Vehicles are one of the most regulated items on the planet. AI is quickly catching up. As one might expect, the combination of advanced automation, machine vision, and other branches of AI in autonomous vehicles are the focus of a range of proposed and pending regulations.

While stiffer regulation may pose some challenges to the budding autonomous driving system industry. The opportunity is still massive, with these systems estimated to create between $300 and $400 billion in revenue by 2035. In fact, autonomous driving system makers may learn the lesson many AI applications are learning, that robust auditing and governance is about more than minimizing risk. Systems that support trustworthy AI support increased efficacy and improved outcomes as well.

Whether from a risk management or opportunity to boost system efficacy perspective, there’s a lot worth keeping track of regarding autonomous vehicle regulation in 2024. Many of the largest states in the US have proposed bills. Combined they will likely affect how autonomous vehicle systems are roled out nationwide.

Why are autonomous vehicle systems being regulated?

While autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize many industries, they aren’t without their safety concerns and consumer trust issues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported six fatalities resulting from autonomous vehicle accidents between July 2021 and May 2022 in addition to several serious injuries. Additionally a self-driving taxi blocked an ambulance in San Francisco, resulting in the death of the patient being transported in the ambulance.

As such, several commissions have been established to develop an in-depth understanding and regulate autonomous vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) has identified five levels of autonomous capabilities. These range from Momentary Driver Assistance (Level 0) to Full Automation (Level 5). NHSTA has, over the years, released guidance that serves as best practice and technical assistance relating to automated driving systems.

Codifying safety requirements and best practices in law, lawmakers across the US are increasingly introducing laws to tackle safety concerns arising from self-driving cars. Our AI Tracker notes over 80 state-level legislations that have either been enacted or are in the process of being enacted. In this blog post, we explore some of the US laws targeting autonomous vehicles at the Federal and state levels, examining both proposed and enacted laws.

Federal Autonomous Vehicle Law paving the way for State laws

At the federal level, a key law governing autonomous vehicles is H.R 3388, the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act, which was passed on 9 June 2017. The law provides that States can enact laws regarding automated vehicles if they are identical to federal standards, effectively paving the way for state-level legislation. Moreover, the law required the Department of Transport to conduct safety assessments and establish a Highly Automated Advisory Council.

State Autonomous Vehicle Legislations introduced in 2024

With the Federal go-ahead, many states have introduced their own autonomous vehicle laws, with some hitting the ground running in 2024 and already having proposed new laws:

  1. Florida introduced SB1580 on January 5, 2024: The Bill requires a licensed human operator to be physically present in a fully autonomous vehicle with a certain gross vehicle weight which is operating for certain purposes on a public road. The Bill is intended to come into force on July 1, 2024.
  1. California introduced AB1777 on January 3, 2024: It seeks to enact legislation for autonomous vehicles that requires them to comply with all traffic laws. All permit holders would be liable to the allocated fines and points in the same way as human drivers.
  1. Kentucky introduced HB47 on January 17, 2024: The legislation provides that an autonomous vehicle may operate without a human driver if it meets a few conditions such as meeting minimal risk conditions, complying with traffic laws and submitting proof of financial responsibility.

2024 autonomous vehicle laws are similar to enacted laws

The new 2024 legislations have a lot in common with the enacted legislations in these States:

  1. Mississippi HB1003: Mississippi Fully Autonomous Vehicle Enabling (MS FAVE) Act of 2023
    Status: Enacted on March 28, 2023
    Summary: The legislation considers the automated driving system to be an operator and mandates a law enforcement interaction plan as well as outlining accident procedures.
  • Georgia SB219: Motor Vehicles; definitions; operation of motor vehicles with automated driving systems on certain public roads
    Status: In Effect from July 1, 2017
    Summary: It exempts a person operating a fully autonomous motor vehicle from holding a driver’s license. The legislation also provides for notification requirements upon a crash and lists down insurance requirements.
  • Arizona HB2813: Autonomous Vehicles
    Status: Enacted on March 24, 2021
    Summary: Establishes procedures for autonomous vehicle use, accident reporting and equipment standards. It also requires a law enforcement plan and compliance with traffic laws.
  • West Virginia HB4787:Creating the Highly Automated Motor Vehicle Act
    Status: Enacted on April 19, 2022
    Summary: Provides for rules for the operation of highly automated motor vehicles, seeks valid registration, insurance, and compliance with all traffic laws.

Overall, these laws set out that an autonomous vehicle may operate if it meets the following conditions:

AI Regulations for Autonomous Vehicles

Don’t only stay up-to-date of regulations, get ahead and build trust

The rising number of legislations targeting autonomous vehicles will have important implications for both operators and manufacturers. These laws are moving at a fast pace, so it is vital to stay on top of developments to remain compliant and ensure the safety of road users.

Luckily, our AI tracker follows developments in AI and related technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, around the world, tracking legislation, regulation, lawsuits, incidents, penalties, and more.

Request a demo to explore custom deep-dive resources and stay on top of global developments relevant to your autonomous vehicle programs.

DISCLAIMER: This blog article is for informational purposes only. This blog article is not intended to, and does not, provide legal advice or a legal opinion. It is not a do-it-yourself guide to resolving legal issues or handling litigation. This blog article is not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not provide legal advice regarding any situation or employer.

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