California Moves One Step Closer to Allowing Autonomous Vehicles on its Roads

By Paul Riegler on 17 December 2015
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A highway in Southern California

A highway in Southern California

However, Driverless Cars Will Still Require a Driver

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles issued potential regulations for the use of autonomous vehicles in the state. While they are a work in progress, they will mandate that such vehicles be operated by a licensed driver capable of taking over control of the vehicle if necessary. Drivers would also be responsible for any traffic violations committed by their vehicles.

“The regulations for the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles are currently under development,” the state said in a statement. “The regulations will establish the requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their autonomous vehicle has been successfully tested, meets certain safety requirements, and is ready for the general public to operate on public roads.”

Manufacturers wishing to sell autonomous vehicles in the state would be required to obtain third-party safety testing before the vehicle could go on sale and they would only be allowed to lease, not sell the cars to the public.

California has typically been ahead of the curve in new vehicle technologies. It has the highest per capita electric-vehicle sales in the country and is in the top three for hybrid-electric vehicle sales. In addition, companies such as Google have been testing autonomous vehicles for several years in the state, making them somewhat of a common sight.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)