Ann Arbor, presents to Mitchell Rohde, CEO of Quantum Signal in Saline, the first two manufacturer plates under a new law that broadens eligibility for those allowed to test automated vehicles
April 2, 2014 -- Quantum Signal in Saline is the first company to receive manufacturer plates from the Michigan Secretary of State under a new law that broadens eligibility for those allowed to test automated vehicles on Michigan roads. March 27 was the first day the plates were allowed to be issued under Public Act 231 of 2013.
In December 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 169, now Public Act 231, into law. The bill, introduced by Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, explicitly approved testing of driverless cars (automated vehicles) on Michigan roads and expanded the eligibility of those who can do the testing to include universities and automated technology developers and suppliers. Previously, only a handful of entities could legally test new/automated vehicle technologies on public roads. Whenever an automated vehicle is being tested on a public road, a licensed driver must be behind the wheel and ready to take control.
"I congratulate Quantum Signal and look forward to their work with automated vehicles," Kowall said. "This remarkable technology will improve the lives of millions of Americans and boost the economy here in Michigan, which is poised to become the leading state in the testing and manufacture of automated vehicles."
"Vehicles with semi-autonomous and fully autonomous capabilities are clearly the future of automotive transportation, and having the opportunity to test advanced systems on public roadways will help our team enhance the technology to better traverse the complexities of the roadway that we as human drivers face every day," said Mitchell Rohde, CEO and co-founder of Quantum Signal. "As a robotics and autonomy technology company born and grown in Michigan, Quantum Signal is proud and humbled to walk in the footsteps of great automotive pioneers and help keep Detroit the international center of automotive development."
"Michigan didn't become the automotive capital of the world by waiting for technology to be developed elsewhere," said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. "We take the initiative to develop the future of transportation. I'm pleased to be able to issue manufacturer plates to more companies that are putting Michigan at the forefront of automated vehicle research."
The Secretary of State is responsible for issuing the manufacturer plates under the new law, and is relying on the Michigan Department of Transportation's expertise and partnerships to help process and validate plate applications.
MDOT also must report to the Legislature by February 2016 on what further legislation is needed to continue to advance the development of automated vehicle technologies.
"This new law will help make Michigan the leader in automated vehicles in the world, and that means good-paying jobs for Michigan," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "It also means safer roads in the future, as well as less expensive ones as we reduce the need to design roads for human error."
Eventually new automated vehicle technologies will affect the design of roads, interchanges and intersections. Smarter cars will mean a smarter infrastructure. And, most importantly, it is expected that automated (and connected) vehicles will drastically reduce the number of injuries and fatalities experienced on Michigan roads.MDOT says: Drive like you want to make it home tonight.