California to toughen regulations on driverless cars

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Rules of testing autonomous cars in California are to be restricted, as regulators are not fully convinced that self-driving vehicles are safe enough for going on public roads yet.

Testing driverless cars on open roads is a crucial step for the automakers in their further development of autonomous technologies, but California regulators want to be sure these “smart” cars are safe enough for public streets. California Department of Motor Vehicles has just published a series of draft regulations specifying the exact terms in which driverless cars are allowed on roads. For the moment, the Agency isn’t allowing automated cars that don’t have a human driver to go out on the streets. Google is certainly not very happy with the news, as the company is building one that’s designed to work without a person behind the wheel. The internet giant has recently announced it also plans to make its self-driving cars unit, which will offer rides for hire, a stand-alone business. In a recent statement, Google decried the proposal, saying California’s rules would hold back a technology with the potential to prevent car crashes and improve the mobility of people who currently cannot drive. DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said the agency’s main concern is “the safety of autonomous vehicles and the safety of the public who will share the road with these vehicles.”

Under the proposal by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, self-driving cars operators must be a licensed driver who possesses an autonomous vehicle operator certificate issued by the Agency. The driver will be responsible for monitoring the safe operation of the vehicle at all times, and must be capable of taking over immediate control in the event of an autonomous technology failure or other emergency. In addition, they will be responsible for all traffic violations that occur while operating the autonomous vehicle. Furthermore, manufacturers approved for license will initially be issued a three-year deployment permit and, throughout the term, they will submit monthly reports regarding the performance, safety, and usage of their autonomous vehicles. Manufacturers will also be required to report accidents that occurred while the vehicle was in autonomous mode and any safety-related defects in their autonomous technology.

Via Automotive News