Per the California DMV website “The Office of Administrative law approved regulations governing the driverless testing and public use of autonomous vehicles on California roads on February 26, 2018. The department will post a public notice of that approval on its website and can begin approving applications 30 days after the notice.” This means that we could see the permits issued and the testing of driverless vehicles in California as soon as April 2, 2018.
“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” said Jean Shiomoto, California’s D.M.V. Director “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”
There are upwards of 50 companies currently testing hundreds of autonomous vehicles in California. Companies like GM, who announced that they plan on putting fully driverless autonomous vehicles on the roadways by 2019 will benefit from these new regulations. Uber and Waymo also have a keen interest in driverless vehicles and are bound to push forward with their current testing of autonomous vehicles.
California is not the first to make way for driverless vehicles, in fact, Arizona opened up to testing driverless vehicles and Waymo has been testing it’s autonomous technology there.
There are other requirements that companies must meet to deploy driverless vehicles on California roadways such as linking to remote operators who can monitor and steer the vehicle if needed to get it off the road. They will also have to notify authorities they plan to test the vehicle and have a plan to notify law enforcement if needed.
The gates have been open, and companies on the cutting edge of autonomous and driverless vehicle technology have been given the green light in California to refine and prove their technology. Who knows, maybe we will be able to watch our favorite YouTube channel and sip our latte’s while our cars drive us around in the near future.