Fully Autonomous Vehicles Could Hit California by 2018, Public Hearing on Apr 25, 2017

California DMV to review regulatory matters pertaining to the deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads

The State of California Department of Motor Vehicles is seriously looking at regulations around the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles on its roads as early as next year. To that end, there will be a public hearing held in Sacramento on April 25, 2017.

The California DMV has today released its proposals for driverless testing and deployment regulations vide the following PDF documents published on March 10, 2017:

Autonomous Vehicles Notice of Proposed Action (PDF)
Autonomous Vehicles Initial Statement of Reasons (PDF)
Autonomous Vehicles Express Terms (PDF)

In the documents, the DMV confirms that there are 21 manufacturers testing self-driving vehicles with test drivers on public streets in California. It also outlines the procedures to apply for public deployment of such vehicles, as governed by Article 3.8. This article is being added, while Article 3.7, governing the testing of autonomous vehicles, is being amended.

The DMV also confirmed that applications for deployment of driverless vehicles under Article 3.8 will undergo a 30-day review period for completeness. It also states that approval to deploy driverless vehicles will only be effective 180 days after the application is approved.

That means, after April 25, 2017, manufacturers will be able to apply for deployment, but will have to wait approximately six months before actually deploying the approved autonomous vehicles in question.

If manufacturers move quickly, we could see the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles on public roads in California as soon as early 2018. With nearly two dozen companies testing various autonomous vehicle technologies in the state, it’s going to be a quick dash to the finish.

In other words, we could see full autonomous vehicles licensed to operate on public roads in less than a year from now in California. That’s exciting, to say the least!

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