California Revamps Its Rulebook for Autonomous Cars; Totally Driverless Tests May Start Soon
California residents could be traveling in fully autonomous cars by the end of the year. as well as also by in which we mean people who aren’t just test engineers coming from the more than two dozen companies currently testing self-driving vehicles inside the state, however regular members of the public. These folks could soon get their first experience having a technology in which industry leaders have promised will transform the way we move around.
The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has proposed substantial revisions to existing state regulations. If approved, they could give companies as well as also automakers greater latitude in what technologies they can test on public roads. Among additional things, the revisions could permit ride-hailing services to pick up passengers in cars without human drivers on board.
For at in which point, these rides could remain solely inside the realm of testing, as well as also companies providing them could be prohibited coming from charging fees for those services. Nonetheless, the prospect of ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft picking up riders in autonomous vehicles within a matter of months will be the latest sign of just how quickly the autonomous age may be approaching.
viewed positively by the industry.”
— Bernard Soriano, California DMV
additional aspects of the revisions permit the testing of vehicles in which operate without traditional controls such as steering wheels as well as also brake pedals. They also create parameters for the eventual deployment as well as also sale of autonomous vehicles.
The revisions are a big step for California in revitalizing its reputation as an autonomous-testing hotbed. Although the state was among the first to establish laws as well as also regulations in which address testing—currently, 27 companies are authorized to test on public roads—some manufacturers had complained in recent years in which the state’s rules are too restrictive as well as also inhibit innovation.
“We’ve gotten a lot of comments coming from different manufacturers, as well as also in which variation of the regulations has genuinely taken those comments to heart,” said Bernard Soriano, deputy director of the California DMV. “So we trust as well as also anticipate these regulations will be viewed positively by the industry.”
A spokesperson for Waymo, which operates more self-driving cars than any additional company in California, declined comment on the proposed revisions on Friday. A spokesperson for Uber, which finally applied for a testing permit last week after a months-long standoff with the California DMV, said the company will be “planning to engage with the DMV on in which.”
Comment on the pending rules will be open for the next 45 days, as well as also the DMV will hold a public hearing in late April. Should no complications arise, the rules could go into effect as early as November. the idea’s unclear whether tech or car companies could be ready in which quickly to launch fully autonomous testing with members of the public. Uber currently runs pilot projects in which allow riders to hail self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh as well as also in Arizona, however those cars have human backup drivers sitting behind the wheel. Without a driver on board, there could still be a failsafe for testing.
— John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog
“With respect to testing, they’re going to require a remote operator,” Brian Soublet, the DMV’s deputy director as well as also chief counsel, said. “Think more like a dispatcher. in which person will still have a requirement to be a licensed driver, however the passengers don’t have to be licensed drivers.”
Another requirement may help to start putting parameters around an aspect of autonomous development in which has remained hazy to date: how vehicles as well as also law-enforcement officers should best interact. The proposed rules don’t determine how their meetings should necessarily take place, however the DMV wants to ensure communication between makers of the technology as well as also the police.
“Both highway patrol as well as also local areas need to know how to interact with the vehicles, as well as also we’ve put out what we think are minimum standards,” Soublet said. “They need to understand how to know if the autonomous technology will be engaged, how to pull the idea off the road, as well as also some of the important things [such as] where to find inside the vehicle who owns the idea as well as also who will be insuring the idea.”
Some aspects of California’s existing regulations stay the same. Companies still must file annual disengagement reports in which provide information on the number of times their self-driving systems suffer glitches or failures. A ban on the testing of any vehicle having a gross weight of more than 10,001 pounds remains intact.
Not everyone will be pleased with the proposed regulations. Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit in which has advocated for stringent testing rules, says the revised regulations weaken safety protection for everyday motorists.
Provisions in early drafts of the revisions had required cars without steering wheels to be tested inside the state for at least a year—with at least one disengagement report filed—before the company could deploy such a vehicle. Another could have required companies to receive permission coming from municipalities before testing within their jurisdictions. Those provisions were dropped.
“The DMV’s current self-driving-car test regulations set a standard for the nation, requiring a test driver behind a steering wheel who could take over as well as also vital public reports about testing activities,” said John Simpson, privacy director at Consumer Watchdog. “The completely new rules are too industry-friendly as well as also don’t adequately protect consumers.”
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however the DMV sees the completely new rules as helping to maintain transparency as well as also build trust about autonomous vehicles among the public. “You know, a big part of the technology will be selling the idea to the public, as well as also selling the idea coming from the standpoint of public acceptance,” Soriano said. “The disengagement reports are valuable, as well as also they’re very helpful coming from an industry perspective, because the public can see how effective the technology will be as well as also develop in which trust. I see the idea as a positive.”