National News

Nebraska lawmakers look to add regulation to self-driving car technology

Posted February 12, 2018 10:08 a.m. EST

— Self-driving car owner Brevan Jorgenson had plenty to say about a new push by Nebraska lawmakers to regulate the driving technology.

"I think right now if Nebraska is just trying to get this past, they're going to be behind the eight ball as far as competing with other states," said Jorgenson, a senior at UNO.

He says a couple of years ago, he lucked out when he bought a 2016 Honda Civic because he had no clue it could be converted into a self-driving car with a special after market kit.

"Well, I had to try it because I'm a beta tester," said Jorgenson.

Owning a self-driving car has put him into an elite group of drivers who are now particularly interested in what the government has to say about the technology.

Two Nebraska senators are hoping to set some rules to what Jorgenson calls a mostly unregulated technology.

"While I see Nebraska is trying to be competitive I think one of the best things they can do is leave it unregulated," he said.

A legislative committee will soon consider two measures. Both bills have to do with allowing researchers to test self-driving cars and trucks within the state's borders.

One of the measures is specific to Lincoln, but the other one would allow automated cars and trucks on state roadways.

It also requires that testers stay alert and take immediate control as needed.

Jorgenson says enforcing the rules is where it could get tricky.

"You could always require a permit, but it's hard to tell with a vehicle self driving.. if you look at my car, you can't tell there's anything making it drive itself," he said.