As they say, the future is now.

Just last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed into law legislation that will establish a favorable legal and regulatory climate for innovative businesses looking to operate in the autonomous vehicle (AV) sector.

With this new law, it is now possible to research, develop, and test autonomous vehicles in Michigan. Already known for its rich history in the automotive industry, the Great Lakes State is now more appealing to many cutting-edge businesses, including General Motors, Google, Uber, and Lyft. 

Earlier this year, Tennessee approved similar legislation, which was championed by State Senator Mark Green (R). Already, Volkswagen has expressed interest in expanding such operations to its Chattanooga branch.

While such legislation sounds futuristic, laws pertaining to AVs have been in place for roughly half a decade. In 2011, Nevada became the first state to authorize the operation of AVs. Since then, California, Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Utah, and Washington, D.C. have passed favorable AV legislation. Two states, Arizona and Massachusetts, have seen their respective Governors issue executive orders related to positive AV legislation.

If more states were to follow this lead, the automotive industry could see a boom in job creation and ability to operate in a free market while better serving consumers. More states should follow the example set by State Senator Green and Governor Snyder; it’s up to state legislators to keep the momentum rolling. The future is now, and elected officials should act accordingly to bring a potentially booming industry to their states and constituents.