The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has introduced new legislation to legalize fully driverless vehicles in the state. It follows similar legislation passed in Michigan late last year.
Automakers and tech firms are required to have a driver in the front-seat at the present time, to take control if the vehicle malfunctions. In California, manufacturers also need to send detailed travel logs to the DMV.
“This is really the next step to moving forward the driverless testing and also the public use,” said DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez. “A number of manufacturers will be ready to move forward with driverless testing over the next year to make this happen.”
Cars will not be completely autonomous, an engineer would still need to keep watch of the vehicle from a remote location. The DMV did not say if it needs to be one-on-one monitoring, or if one engineer can monitor a fleet of vehicles.
The DMV also wants the police and other enforcement agencies to be able to take control and move an autonomous vehicle from the road, if it is malfunctioning.
People, get ready…to climb aboard
While the rules have not been finalized, there is some talk of the DMV allowing regular commuters to travel in the autonomous vehicles, similar to rules in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The new rules will be enacted by November at the earliest, giving manufacturers more than half a year to prepare for the transition. We would assume some of the 27 manufacturers in the state are ready to move to this next level of autonomy.
Google’s self-driving division Waymo is supposedly far ahead of other self-driving firms in California, according to a California automotive regulator. Even so, there have been accidents caused by the autonomous vehicle last year, showing that the technology is far from perfect.