Congress did something rare yesterday, and by that of course we mean anything. This particular thing was the passage of the SELF DRIVE act, an important step towards bringing autonomous cars onto the road, and Audi is pleased as punch.

“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took a decisive step to create a new automated vehicle framework aimed at unlocking mobility options for generations to come,” said Brad Stertz, Director of Audi Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. in a statement.

The bill is only the first step towards bringing autonomous cars to the public and the Senate will also have to have a say, but the broad, bipartisan support of the bill is promising for manufacturers looking to bring autonomy, like Audi.

The bill gives the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) power to regulate vehicle design and requires automakers to carefully consider how to keep data gathered from autonomous vehicles private.

Audi A8 L

Most importantly for the short term future of autonomy, though, is that it allows NHTSA to grant more exemptions to the current rules. Currently, NHTSA can only grant 2,500 exemptions per year, meaning that only that many autonomous cars (without brake pedals, steering wheels, or humans) can currently test on public roads. Under the new rules, NHTSA will be able to grant up to 100,000 exemptions in three to four years.

Audi recently revealed its new A8, which it claims is the first truly autonomous car. The car still requires a human to be behind the wheel but allows them to take their focus off the road for extended periods of time.

Despite the car having that capacity, Audi can’t actually turn the feature on yet because the lack of regulation means that European and American governing bodies aren’t willing to approve it. With the passage of this act, it looks like Americans might be one step closer to reading a book as their A8 whisks them down the road.

“With the overwhelming passage of the Self Drive Act and legislation under consideration in the U.S. Senate,” said Stertz, “Congress is taking the initiative to ensure America remains the leading innovator of technologies that can positively transform our cities, benefit the disadvantaged and – most important of all – ensure greater safety on our roads.”