TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly approved a new law on Friday which will allow driverless vehicles to operate in the state.

Kelly signed Senate Bill 313 which is described by the Kansas Legislature as permitting the operation of driverless-capable vehicles without a human driver with the automated driving system engaged under certain circumstances. If the driverless-capable vehicle:

  • Is capable of achieving a minimal risk condition (meaning a reasonably safe state that renders the system unable to perform the dynamic driving task, including moving the vehicle to the shoulder, stopping, and activating emergency signal lamps) if a malfunction of the automated driving system occurs.
  • Is capable of operating in compliance with applicable traffic and motor vehicle safety laws.
  • Bears the required manufacturer’s certification label indicating compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, when required by federal law, including any reference to any exception granted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Does not exceed 34,000 pounds on tandem axles, until July 1, 2025.
  • Carries a conventional human driver for 12 consecutive months from the date an entity places the driverless-capable vehicle into service in Kansas unless the vehicle is not designed, intended, or marketed for human occupancy or the vehicle lacks manual controls.

The bill also requires the owner of the vehicle to submit a law enforcement interaction plan to the Kansas Highway Patrol before operating the vehicle on public roads in Kansas. All driverless vehicles will need to be registered to operate in Kansas and bear identification that they are driverless vehicles.

To read the legislative summary of the bill, click here.