Autonomous cars are still far away for personal use. Tons of companies including Google, Uber, GM and more are currently testing their prototypes. The testing bed of these companies has always been California. But sadly California, a state where 285 autonomous cars from 42 companies are currently plying has some restrictions regarding their use. The rules currently state that in a driverless car a test driver must be present at all times to take control over the vehicle if anything goes wrong. This has meant that companies were either forced to add manual overrides or change their testing ground to other states like Florida and Arizona where there is very little or no legislation about autonomous cars. The state wants tech companies and automobile manufacturers to stay put and that is why its Department of Motor Vehicles are released a draft legislation where completely driverless cars will be legally allowed to ply on its roads.
California has always has the reputation of being tech friendly and with this legislation they are maintaining the status quo. Before we talk about the impact of this legislation, let’s find out the fine print. This is a new streamlined regulation which has been released on Wednesday that states that states that autonomous cars which come without standard car features like foot pedals, steering wheel, mirrors and most importantly the human driver will be allowed to run in California. This proposal also states that companies no longer need approval from local governments whenever they are planning to run their autonomous cars in a particular area. Once the test run is over they need not submit data such as how many times the human component comes into effect when the car fails to avoid obstacles. The legislation also says that the companies can hide the operational design from the government so that their innovations are protected from espionage.
The draft has been sent out to the public and comments are invited from them for a 15 day period starting from Wednesday. Once this 15 day period ends the bill will be sent to the state government for approval. The state government is supposed to approve this into law latest by June 2018. The only problem we see here is that the federal government still holds the key for the final rollout to public.
Source: California DMV via The Verge