SECTION 1. Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 19L, the following new section:-
Section 19M. As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:--
"Autonomous technology," technology installed on a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control or monitoring by a human operator. The term excludes a motor vehicle enabled with active safety systems or driver assistance systems, including, without limitation, a system to provide electronic blind spot assistance, crash avoidance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, lane departure warning, or traffic jam and queuing assistant, unless any such system alone or in combination with other systems enables the vehicle on which the technology is installed to drive without the active control or monitoring by a human operator.
“Autonomous Vehicle,” any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology.
(a) A person who possesses a valid driver license may operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode. For purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, a person shall be deemed to be the operator of an autonomous vehicle operating in autonomous mode when the person causes the vehicle's autonomous technology to engage, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the vehicle while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode.
(b) An autonomous vehicle registered in this state must continue to meet federal standards and regulations for a motor vehicle. The vehicle shall:
(1) Have a means to engage and disengage the autonomous technology which is easily accessible to the operator.
(2) Have a means, inside the vehicle, to visually indicate when the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode.
(3) Have a means to alert the operator of the vehicle if a technology failure affecting the ability of the vehicle to safely operate autonomously is detected while the vehicle is operating autonomously in order to indicate to the operator to take control of the vehicle.
(4) Be capable of being operated in compliance with the applicable traffic and motor vehicle laws of this state.
(c) Federal regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall supersede this section when found to be in conflict with this section.
(d) (1) Vehicles equipped with autonomous technology may be operated on roads in this state by employees, contractors, or other persons designated by manufacturers of autonomous technology for the purpose of testing the technology. For testing purposes, a human operator shall be present in the autonomous vehicle such that he or she has the ability to monitor the vehicle's performance and intervene, if necessary, unless the vehicle is being tested or demonstrated on a closed course. Prior to the start of testing in this state, the entity performing the testing must submit to the division of highway safety an instrument of insurance, surety bond, or proof of self-insurance acceptable to the department in the amount of $5,000,000.
(2) The original manufacturer of a vehicle converted by a third party into an autonomous vehicle shall not be liable in, and shall have a defense to and be dismissed from, any legal action brought against the original manufacturer by any person injured due to an alleged vehicle defect caused by the conversion of the vehicle, or by equipment installed by the converter, unless the alleged defect was present in the vehicle as originally manufactured.
(3) By February 12, 2015, the division of highway safety shall submit a report to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives recommending additional legislative or regulatory action that may be required for the safe testing and operation of motor vehicles equipped with autonomous technology.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.