Driverless autonomous cars testing on public roads will be legal in California in the not-so-distant future. The Department of Motor Vehicles in the largest U.S. car market is proposing new regulations allowing testing of the self-driving vehicles on public roads without the need of backup drivers.
Current regulations in the state require autonomous cars to have conventional manual controls, i.e. steering wheel and pedals, and a driver on the driver’s seat. The proposed new regulations will enable manufacturers to certify that their self-driving machines can operate without those controls and meet the federal safety standards. Most importantly, the driverless test prototypes must have a remote operator, who is monitoring the process, to be allowed to perform driverless testing.
California is probably the most liberal place in the world in terms of autonomous testing. The state has already granted a total of 27 companies with a license to test self-driving cars, including BMW, Tesla, Delphi, Nvidia, Waymo, AutoX, NextEV, and Faraday Future. The latest firm to join the party was Uber.
Starting this Friday, a 45-day public comment period will be started, which will be followed by a public hearing on April 25.
The proposed regulations are not a big surprise, taking into account the autonomous car of the future won’t feature steering wheel or pedals, just like the Volkswagen Sedric concept that was presented to the public at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. What’s more, some engineers, apparently, are falling asleep while testing such cars, like Ford researchers who can’t resist the super smooth ride of the test prototypes.
Many manufacturers are planning to launch completely autonomous vehicles by 2020-2021 – and some specialists even predict kids born today will never need a driver’s license. Not only the future of public transportation is autonomous, but also the future of racing, as Roborace and similar ideas are gaining momentum.
Source: Automotive News