Californian DMV Proposes More Relaxed Autonomous Car Laws

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has proposed numerous revisions to state regulations about the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles across the state.

One of the key proposed changes would allow ride-hailing services to transport passengers without human drivers on board, a revision which would have allowed Uber to test its self-driving fleet on California’s streets. However, a key caveat of this revision is that these companies wouldn’t be able to charge passengers for the services.

Among the other proposed revisions would see vehicles without steering wheels and pedals getting the go-ahead to test on public roads. Parameters would also be employed about how autonomous vehicles and law enforcement should interact.

According to the DMV’s deputy director and chief counsel Brian Soublet, “Both highway patrol and local areas need to know how to interact with the vehicles, and we’ve put out what we think are minimum standards.

“They need to understand how to know if the autonomous technology is engaged, how to pull it off the road, and some of the important things [such as] where to find in the vehicle who owns it and who is insuring it.”

While automakers will be pleased with the proposed changes, not everyone feels the same.

Speaking to Car&Driver, privacy director at Consumer Watchdog John Simpson said “The DMV’s current self-driving-car test regulations set a standard for the nation, requiring a test driver behind a steering wheel who could take over and vital public reports about testing activities. The new rules are too industry-friendly and don’t adequately protect consumers.”


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