Sacramento to let fully autonomous cars on public roads

Sacramento might be the first city in California to allow fully autonomous cars on public roads, without a driver sat in the front or even a steering wheel to take control of the car.

City leaders, spearheaded by the Mayor’s office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, have applied for the “first-ever” permit to test driverless cars on public roads.

See Also: Can taxi drivers still have a place in a driverless world?

“We welcome new technologies that aren’t quite proven yet to be tested here,” said head the Mayor’s innovation team, Ash Roughani. He added that fully driverless systems could reduce the amount of accidents on the road, and add more free time.

Roughani wants to reach driverless as fast as possible, and sees Sacramento as the city to let self-driving testers go wild. Without the current limitations, Google, Uber, and others could test autonomous cars on public roads and potentially show the tech to citizens, making them less afraid of a future where a computer is in control of the commute.

“We think they need to experience it to really appreciate and understand the value of an autonomous vehicle,” Roughani added.

State DMV still mad about Uber

The move comes one week after the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked Uber’s registration of 16 self-driving cars. The state said Uber had not applied for the correct permit, but Uber argued that it did not need to, and a week later moved its self-driving cars to Arizona.

While California has continued to assert it was correct, losing Uber has a dent in the state’s image as a place for emerging tech to thrive. It might make automakers and tech firms think twice about California, especially when Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are rolling out the red carpet for any and all self-driving car testers.

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