On March 3, 2017 the Georgia Senate unanimously passed a law authorizing the operation of so called “automated” motor vehicles. The bill still needs to get through the House for final approval before being sent to Governor Deal.

The Senate bill defines “Automated Driving System (ADS) as hardware and software that collectively is capable of operating all aspects of “dynamic driving tasks” without the supervision of a human operator.

Dynamic driving tasks means the operational aspects, including steering, braking, accelerating, and monitoring of a vehicle, and tactical aspects, including responding to events, determining when to change lanes, turning, using signals, and other related activities.

The law would also exempt any person who is in an automated motor vehicle while the ADS is engaged, from needing a drivers license.

The law provides that a motor vehicle with the ADS engaged does NOT have to have a human present while it is operating on the highways of this state, although the owner has to ensure that the car is being operated in compliance with Georgia laws, maintains liability insurance, and is properly registered.

I haven’t heard whether this law has any chance of passing this year, but it does seem that automated vehicles will be here sooner than later, and will bring along with them all sorts of legal issues, some known and some unknown. Stay tuned….