The bill by North Richland Hills Sen. Kelly Hancock would require the vehicles to meet all federal and state safety standards and carry the usual motorist liability insurance.
When the cars are in use, systems operating them would be on the hook for damages from any mishaps — or would be considered the driver if any moving violations are ticketed. Local governments couldn't regulate the cars or charge the operators a franchise fee.
Limited tests have been underway in the Dallas and Austin areas. Bill supporters, which include corporate giants such as Toyota, General Motors, Lockheed Martin and AT&T, have said Texas needs to offer "regulatory certainty" to reap a potential financial windfall from the emerging technology.