California plans to allow autonomous cars without backup drivers

California plans to allow autonomous cars without backup drivers

California plans to allow autonomous cars without backup drivers

Manufacturers complained that this requirement was "overly broad" and potentially prohibitive to their development and testing cycle, and in response the CA DMV adjusted the regulation so that a new application must only be filed if a technology change meets one of a certain set of conditions, such as a change in the vehicle's SAE level - a standard measurement for the level of autonomy a vehicle possesses.

We might still be years away from the wild self-driving utopia some people envision, but it's good to see California taking steps to ensure that, when self-driving cars are ready for public consumption, the Golden State will be among the first to embrace them.

California has let companies test driverless vehicles with a driver behind the steering wheel since 2014.

That doesn't mean you'll be able to buy a completely driverless auto next year, or even hitch a ride in one.

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The revised regulations follow a 45-day public comment period during which manufacturers, consumer advocates, local governments, insurance companies and other stakeholders noted areas of the regulations they found troublesome.

That distinction is held by Florida, which remains "the only state to expressly allow a truly driverless vehicle", according to Law360. Many safety experts believe that robot cars will prove far safer than human drivers. But then in May, the agency reversed itself, putting out a new proposal that would not only allow for the testing of self-driving cars without a human driver, but also regulate the manufacture and sale of fully autonomous vehicles.

"The new California DMV proposal wrongly relies on the federal government, when there are absolutely no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applying specifically to autonomous vehicle technology", said Consumer Watchdog privacy project director John Simpson. In addition, manufacturers must also certify their vehicles are created to operate in compliance with state traffic laws.

The new rules represent a compromise with automotive and technology companies, which had objected to numerous requirements previously proposed by the state. State-approved human drivers are required to sit behind the wheel of those cars.

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Wade Newton, a spokesman for trade group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said Wednesday it appeared that California had recognised that "certain onerous" requirements could delay deployment of self-driving technology. Currently, 42 companies hold permits for autonomous testing, from technology companies Apple, Google spinout Waymo, and Uber, to traditional automakers Honda and Ford.

Congress is now considering legislation that would loosen federal requirements on driverless-car testing.

The new regulations can be viewed at the California's DMV website.

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