May 09, 2017      

Georgia has legalized public road test of self-driving cars. Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 219 on Monday, clearing the way for self-driving cars to drive on certain public roads in the state.

The bill won’t require humans in the self-driving cars to have a valid driver’s license. However, the self-driving cars must be registered as automated vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles, must maintain a valid insurance policy, and follow speed limits designated by local order.

The Georgia Senate unanimously passed the Bill 219 on March 3, 2017. It was then passed by the Georgia House of Representatives 151-17 on March 24, 2017.

Georgia joins several other states that have legalized self-driving car tests on public roads. Michigan was the first to do so with others joining in on the self-driving race, including Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) was one of Bill 219’s sponsors. When it passed the Senate, he said the bill will help make Georgia a leader in the development of self-driving cars.

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“Under SB 219, common sense restrictions will be placed on autonomous vehicles while ensuring they comply with state and federal driving laws. The vehicles must be registered as automated vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles, must maintain a valid insurance policy and follow speed limits designated by local order. Since human operators are not required in vehicles equipped with ADS, passengers are not mandated to have valid driver’s licenses.

“I am proud to champion the passage of this legislation which will increase safety on our roads by limiting accidents caused by human error. In 2015, 90 percent of the car accidents that occurred in the nation were caused by human error. Automated driving systems can and will save lives by removing distracted and intoxicated drivers off the road. Georgia has the opportunity to be a leader in the nation and I look forward to championing SB 219 to becoming law.”

Apple Self-Driving Car
Apple’s self-driving car being tested in California. (Credit: Bloomberg)

Keep an Eye on Apple’s Self-Driving Car

Two weeks ago, Apple obtained permission from California to test its self-driving car. The photo above from Bloomberg is reportedly the first images of a Lexus self-driving car powered by Apple. Twenty-nine companies have received permits in California to test self-driving cars.

California, of course, is the state with the most Apple employees at 36,786. Georgia, however, ranks fifth in the US for the highest number of Apple employees with 1,516. Since Georgia’s self-driving car laws seem so friendly, will Apple bring its self-driving technology to the Peach State? Only time will tell, but stay tuned.