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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

California Approves Self-Driving Car Testing On Public Roads

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has approved rules to allow the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. The announcement came yesterday with the new rules going into effect on September 16, 2014.

The DMV had promised back in December 2013 that it would post regulations for public use of self-driving cars. They also held a public hearing in January this year to address concerns.

According to the new recommendations from the DMV, a manufacturer that's interesting in testing autonomous vehicles has to apply for a testing permit, certify its drivers to test the cars, a secure a $5 million insurance or safety bond. The permit has to be renewed annually, failing which it will expire.

There are guidelines set as to how drivers will have to get certified, including the type of training needed. This includes defensive driver training, including practical experience in recovering from hazardous driving scenarios.

The training needed for driver certification is much more thorough than what a normal driver would have to go through for obtaining a license. One of the requirements for operating an autonomous car is that the driver has to remain in the driver's seat at all times that the car is in motion.

Currently, Google is already testing self-driving cars in the Mountain View area in California. After DMV's new guidelines, there may be automakers lining up to get permits to use California streets for testing.

These guidelines could be a stepping stone for the future. Before self-driving cars hit the market, lawmakers will have to add new safety laws and rules for the public.

Source: California DMV
Image source: Volvo

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