Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that would allow self-driving vehicles to operate in the state without a human driver present.
The goal of the new legislation is to remove unnecessary obstacles that hinder the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and to establish a statutory framework for AVs in the state of Florida, the governor's office said in a release.
The law authorizes operation of a fully autonomous vehicle on Florida roads regardless of whether or not a human operator is present in the vehicle. While a licensed human operator would not be required to be physically present in the vehicle under the new law, any remote human operator of an AV would have to be physically present in the U.S. and be licensed somewhere in the country to operate a motor vehicle. AVs can operate in the state as long as the vehicles meet the appropriate safety and insurance requirements outlined in the law.
The bill signing took place at the SunTrax facility in Polk County, Florida, which is a national center for the research and development of advanced mobility solutions. The event celebrated the completion of Phase One of this facility with the finish of the country’s newest autonomous vehicle test track. SunTrax will be the only high-speed autonomous vehicle testing facility in the southeastern U.S.
The provisions from the new law will officially take effect on July 1.