Driverless cars are coming, though they're on course to arrive in some states sooner than others. The used car website Mojo Motors recently created an infographic that shows the status of driverless car legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan, and D.C., have all passed laws explicitly authorizing companies to test driverless cars on private and public roads within their borders (in large part to try and attract driverless technology companies). 28 states have taken no legislative action at all, two states have said "no" to driverless cars (Wisconsin and New Hampshire) and the rest, which includes Massachusetts, are in the process of drafting laws (the Division of Highway Safety has until May 15, 2015 to send the legislature its recommendations). Even if Massachusetts does pass a law soon, it will only be a first, tiny step in an undoubtedly long regulatory road. In the meantime, we may find find ourselves in the patchwork situation we're in today with cellular phones: just like you have to go "hands free" when you cross from some states into others, you may need to perk up and take over the wheel from your robot when driving up I-93 into New Hampshire.
Image courtesy of Mojo Motors.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.