Companies were initially required to operate prototype vehicles with a human backup driver behind the wheel, ready to kill the autonomous system and take over driving duties.
California is ready to allow autonomous prototype cars to operate on public roads without a human safety driver behind the wheel.
Companies were initially required keep a human backup driver behind the wheel, ready to kill the autonomous system and take over driving duties.
The state has faced pressure from the start of its autonomous testing program to allow testing of vehicles that don't have a steering wheel, pedals or other human controls. Many companies envision autonomous technology as ideally suited to taxi services, essentially shuttling around riders without any need for a human behind the wheel.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has revised its regulations to allow for truly driverless operation. The amendments include a few tighter provisions, requiring notification of local authorities for road tests and reporting to the state when prototype equipment is upgraded.
The revised rules also defer to the federal government, requiring vehicles to comply with all FMVSS safety regulations or receive formal exemptions for non-compliant prototypes.
The new regulations are expected to go into effect around mid-2018.