The state of California will allow fully autonomous cars without safety drivers to test on public roads for the first time.
The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced the change Monday, which outlines a permitting process for companies wishing to deploy driverless vehicles without anyone behind the wheel.
Last October, the California DMV issued revised regulations governing the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Among their many provisions, the new rules would allow autonomous cars without steering wheels, foot pedals, mirrors and human drivers behind the wheel to be tested on its roads starting in 2018.
The state’s Office of Administrative Law has now approved the regulations that would permit fully driverless testing. A public notice will go up on the DMV’s website on March 2, which starts a 30-day period before the first permits can be issued on April 2. Companies can apply for three types of permits: testing with a safety driver, driverless testing and deployment.
According to officials, there are currently 50 companies testing nearly 300 autonomous vehicles that are licensed with the DMV. Nearly 1,000 safety drivers are licensed to test those vehicles, but after the state’s rules go into effect, companies would be allowed to deploy cars without any human behind the wheel.
Source: The Verge