INDIANAPOLIS — The House and Senate are poised for a showdown over how to regulate autonomous self-driving vehicles operating on Indiana's roadways.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 49-0 for its version of House Bill 1341 that largely takes a hands-off approach.
Under the plan, vehicle manufacturers and computer companies would be allowed to operate autonomous vehicles in the state if they self-certify their products are capable of complying with federal and state motor vehicle laws — even if they don't actually comply in use.
The sponsor, state Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, said enacting limited regulations acceptable to autonomous-vehicle makers will entice those companies to bring their cars and trucks to Indiana for testing.
"This is absolutely the wave of the future," Crider said. "This technology is going to change the automotive industry."
Meanwhile, state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, sponsor of the House version of the proposal, believes Indiana needs more stringent autonomous vehicle regulations — at least until the federal government adopts national standards.
His proposal, which passed the House 94-0 in January, creates the Indiana Automated Vehicle Oversight Task Group, composed of state and local officials, to review and approve autonomous vehicle systems before they can be used in Indiana.
"I can't ask Hoosiers to accept no standard for unproven technology; I just can't do it," Soliday said.
The Senate measure also scraps a House-backed requirement that every autonomous vehicle have a responsible occupant with a driver's license prepared to manually operate the vehicle if the autonomous system fails.
Lawmakers have only until March 14 to devise a compromise proposal that again must pass both chambers to advance to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature or veto.