- California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is taking public comment on new regulations that could put fully autonomous cars on public roads by the end of the year, according to a state press release.
- The proposed regulations are for testing cars without controls, such as pedals and steering wheels, and public use of the vehicles.
- California already has 27 companies licensed to test self-driving cars, including Google, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Tesla.
The state has had autonomous vehicle testing regulations on the books since 2014 but had excluded self-driving cars without a human driver in the driver’s seat because of safety concerns. The new proposed regulations would free up autonomous cars to be truly driverless.
If the regulations are enacted, manufacturers would still need to comply with federal safety standards unless cleared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The regulations require that a manufacturer obtain written support from the local jurisdiction before going fully autonomous. Also, vehicle testing must include a remote operator who can track the vehicle and communicate with passengers.
However, the regulations don’t propose any new DMV test for the autonomous machines. Instead, manufactures will “self-certify” that their vehicles are safe. This follows federal guidelines put out by the Department of Transportation last year surrounding driverless cars.
This public comment period follows some recent self-driving speed bumps. Uber was forced to end its self-driving pilot in San Francisco last December just hours after launching after the DMV revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars for lacking the proper permits.
The company had refused to pay for $150 dollar license, saying since they had a driver in the seat at all times, the autonomous permit was not necessary. Uber then took its testing to Arizona earlier this year where one of its cars promptly got in a wreck. Uber’s testing is on hold while an investigation into the crash is ongoing.