California Relaxes Regulations on Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous cars without backup drivers could come to California roads before June
Autonomous cars without human drivers will be allowed on California roads starting next year

13 Octubre, 2017

Before approval of those, the regulations will be made subjected to the public comment period, which will be ending by October 25 and then will be submitted to the enforcement of the State Government. "We are excited to take the next step in furthering the development of this potentially life-saving technology in California", said Brian Kelly, the state's Transportation Secretary.

The proposed regulations recognize that responsibility for motor vehicle safety resides at the federal level, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is vested with the authority to develop and enforce compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Though companies are not ready to unleash the technology for regular drivers-most say it remains a few years away-the nation's largest state expects to have a final regulatory framework in place by June. The new regulations would enact a universal template for reporting disengagements with a standardized form to disclose when and how a disengagement occurred.

The new revision proposal would not only allow the testing of autonomous cars without a human driver but also regulate the manufacturing of the said vehicles.

California was among the first states to explicitly legalize the testing of prototype self-driving cars on public roads.There are currently 42 companies testing 285 autonomous cars on California roads, according to the DMV.

Current regulations and the proposed changes can be viewed on the DMV website.

"It could be sooner than that, but it's all contingent on when the regulations are approved", said Soublet. Developers will still be required to obtain special permits from the DMV before they conduct any trials on public roads - about 40 organizations hold such permits - and their software must obey California's traffic laws.

Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent company Alphabet Inc, Ford Motor Co, Tesla Inc, Apple Inc, General Motors Co had sought changes in California.

California's new regulations would require that manufacturers testing driverless cars on public state roads certify that they're meeting federal standards and that any public paperwork shared with federal regulators on driverless testing also is passed to the DMV.

Congress is considering legislation that would loosen federal requirements on driverless-car testing.

Driverless cars - with nobody behind the wheel - could be on California roads and highways by June 2018. "Today's action continues the department's efforts to complete these regulations by the end of the year".

The state is not changing its prohibition on the testing of autonomous trucks, arguing that a separate rule-making process will be needed to allow for the testing of self-driving vehicles over 10,000 pounds.

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