Venable Senior Legislative Advisor Chan Lieu was interviewed in a February 20, 2017, Automotive News article on legislation pending in several states that would limit the testing of self-driving cars to automobile manufactures. Referred to as Safe Autonomous Vehicle (SAVe) acts in some states, the legislation has drawn criticism from technology companies that are developing self-driving systems but not the actual vehicles. They claim that the legislation gives an unfair advantage to legacy automakers.
Lieu, an adviser to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, said it might be too early for states to enact laws without federal guidance. "That's the concern, is how to synchronize all of this," he said. "We need to get states to hold off and understand what their motivation is. We're still a ways off from deployment in a number of these states. It's premature to be acting."
Lieu also raised safety and competition concerns over limiting the operation of self-driving fleets to auto manufacturers. "It's not good for innovation or safety," he said. "If a technology company has a better way to solve an issue, they should be able to implement their own solution." While a potential workaround to SAVe laws might be for technology companies to partner with auto manufacturers, Lieu warned that forcing joint ventures out of legal necessity is bad for development. "It's best to leave it up to the market," he said.