U.S. House lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday to speed up introduction of self-driving cars by removing regulatory barriers.
The bill, which faces tougher going in the Senate, would effectively bar state and local regulatory authorities from blocking autonomous vehicles.
The bill allows automakers to obtain exemptions from the current safety standards to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles in the first year. The exemptions eventually could cover up to 100,000 vehicles annually over three years.
"With this legislation, innovation can flourish without the heavy hand of government," Ohio Republican Bob Latta, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, said on the House floor before the vote.
Automakers and technology companies, including General Motors, Ford and Alphabet's self-driving unit Waymo, has been pushing for legislations making it easier for them to deploy self-driving technology.
Senators have been making their own version of the legislation and have yet to introduce a bill. Senate Commerce Committee announced on Wednesday to hold a hearing to examine autonomous commercial vehicles on Sept. 13. The House version of the bill only covers cars and largely avoids trucks.