Michigan is a great place to go for auto-related news, both standard and non-standard. It makes sense that the rustiest part of the rust belt is a hub of hubbub. Where else would you look for legislation concerning roadkill?
Current Michigan state law requires people to apply for a permit before they can salvage roadkill. Why would you ever want to salvage roadkill? It’s actually a common practice, where the remains of Pete the ‘Possum and Spratt the Squirrel are scraped off the road and converted into food, bait, or cash. Minced meat and tattered pelts are still worth something to someone.
A bill pertaining to salvage and sponsored by two state legislators has already passed the Senate and is moving onward to Michigan’s House of Representatives. The new law would allow people to perform salvage immediately and apply for a permit retroactively, so long as they note the date and place of their harvest. That way, the remains don’t rot while they wait for their permit application to clear red tape. Essentially, it enables the roadkill reconnoiterers of the world to act immediately without worrying about having their hands tied.
The law doesn’t count for deer or bear. In order to salvage big game, a person must have a hunting license in addition to a permit. (Can’t make this up). Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources opposes the legislation, claiming that advance permit applications help it keep better track of roadkill trends.
But news isn’t all farfetched in the Wolverine state. Some stories regard a future that many think is not so far off. It was recently announced that the University of Michigan will be building a $6.5 million test track for autonomous vehicles.
Michigan recently joined a short list of states that have legalized the testing of self-driving cars, but those vehicles are still restricted to very specific testing areas that can’t replicate as many situations as the designers and engineers would like. The test track will provide for real world conditions with road features like merging lanes, traffic circles, non-paved roads, stoplights, and even four-lane highways. It will be like The Truman Show, but for cars. Or like when the Wachowskis built an entire freeway just for that one scene in The Matrix Reloaded, except for science! Not bad science fiction.
The Mobility Transformation Facility, as it will be called, will cover more than 30 acres of land, and is set to be finished this fall. In addition to autonomous driving, the framework of the facility will also allow for testing of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The reports say nothing about whether the MTF will simulate any roadkill salvage, though.
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