The relationship between vehicles and drivers’ are changing as automobile manufacturers work to develop autonomous driving technology. Research and testing have created new possibilities that could improve highway safety, be less harmful to the environment, offer better mobility, and create new economic opportunities.

In California the DMV released a draft of guidelines for autonomous driving, offering in-site into how regulators will address safety and privacy concerns. While officials excluded fully self-driving vehicles from their proposal, they do give manufacturers the opportunity to transition from testing to deployment. The rules apply to autonomous driving, more advanced than Tesla’s autopilot system, but less sophisticated than the Google car that has neither a steering wheel nor pedals. Eleven companies, including Ford, Google, Tesla and Honda, have permits to test in California.

Among the proposed requirements, a licensed driver would still be required to sit in the driver’s seat, ready to take the wheel if something happened. Drivers would be liable for any violations on the road, and manufacturers would be required to subject their vehicles to a third-party safety test. They would also need to apply for three-year permits that would allow them to lease, self-driving cars to the public.

Before granting that initial permit, both the manufacturer and an independent certifier would need to sign off that the car has passed safety testing. Any person who wants to lease or use one of the cars would need special training provided by the manufacturer, and then receive a special certification on their driver’s license.

California senate bill 1298 – Autonomous Driving In California
NHTSA Automated Vehicles Policy

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