New York will start approving applications for self-driving car permits this month, making it the latest U.S. state to open its roads to driverless vehicles.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the year-long pilot program, aimed at exploring the possibilities of self-driving cars in New York and figuring out if they’re safe.
New York requires that a human be behind the wheel and that the car complies with all safety and inspection standards. It has also banned self-driving cars from driving in construction and school zones.
Successful applicants must submit a full report of the test by March 2018.
“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” said Cuomo.
“With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways.”
NYC too tough on driverless tech?
New York City is the most metropolitan city in the U.S. and one of the most densely populated in the world, making it a very unique place to test self-driving cars. Automakers and technology companies may even be willing to foot the $5 million insurance policy tagged onto the permit, if it allows them to test sensors and systems in the city.
The press release says nothing about trials after the current one ends, but we should expect New York to lower its barriers to self-driving vehicles in the future, unless the cars turn out to be even more riskier than humans driving in NYC.