Automakers and technology firms will test self-driving cars on California’s roads aside from mechanical testing labs by early April, following approval was given to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The permit allows the DMV to publish ground rules for companies that plan to use streets as their testing ground for automated vehicles. So far, the state has issued permits to 50 companies that intend to test driverless cars.
One thing that makes this progress on self-driving vehicles is the elimination of a rule, which will allow automated cars to be on the streets even without a person inside in case of an emergency. The DMV removed this from their set of ground rules effective on April 2.
Despite this, DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said that they would only work with companies that are ready to conduct testing on 100% driverless vehicles. Uber, which has been testing its version of self-driving technology, urged California to consider permitting tests for autonomous trucks as well. However, some groups are already concerned about the idea of letting fully driverless cars roam the streets.
Compliance and Cooperation
While there is some concern over the state DMV’s action, not all companies may just proceed to test automated technology. Car companies must be able to convince state and federal authorities that their vehicles are compliant with safety regulations, aside from being compliant with traffic laws.
Otherwise, the state DMV will not issue permits to them. Another requirement involves cooperation with local officials where developers plan to test vehicles. Some cities such as Sacramento have invited some companies to do their testing around the state Capitol.
Driverless cars are a sign of future transportation not only in California but also in the U.S. What do you think of sharing roads with cars that have no people behind the wheel?