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California will allow self-driving cars without humans inside from 2018

13 Octubre 2017

Are California freeways ready for driverless cars with no one behind the wheel?

Legislation intended to clear away federal regulations has moved quickly through Congress. The House has passed a bill that would permit automakers to seek exemptions to safety regulations, such as to make cars without a steering wheel, and allow the sale of hundreds of thousands of self-driving cars. Bernard Soriano with the California DMV said that's part one of the new rules proposal.

California regulators on Wednesday unveiled revised rules that would allow self-driving cars to travel the state's highways without human drivers for the first time as early as next year, a move that won the support of automakers.

The new regulations can be viewed at the California's DMV website.

Road Show explains that the new regulations, which you can read in full here, center around autonomous car testing, requiring car manufacturers to provide the DMV with proof that they've already tested their self-driving technology in closed, controlled conditions.

California motor vehicle officials say they support the federal government's direction, which maintains the oversight and regulation of car safety at the federal level. For now, existing federal safety standards for motor vehicles remain in place, regardless of whether a human is driving the car. Considerable pushback from the tech industry followed, and in September 2016, the DMV put out new proposed rules that would allow autonomous vehicles without a backup driver as long as the vehicles complied with federal regulations.

California's proposed rules must still undergo a 15-day public comment period, which could result in further changes, and then a protracted review by other state attorneys.

The state also requires manufacturers to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and share any safety assessments submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Major automakers like Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Nissan and Volvo have all said it will be closer to 2020 before those vehicles are available, and even then, they could be confined to ride-hailing fleets and other shared applications.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA outlined some of its newly-revised regulations on automated driving systems guidance in a Sept. 12 statement.

Wade Newton, a spokesman for trade group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said Wednesday it appeared that California had recognized that "certain onerous" requirements could delay deployment of self-driving technology.

Consumer Watchdog criticized the revisions, saying California should stick to its earlier, stricter state requirements. State responsibility will focus on licensing human drivers, conducting inspections and regulating auto insurance.

California will allow self-driving cars without humans inside from 2018