Authorities in california have revealed on Wednesday a plan that will allow the testing of autonomous cars on the roads of the State without requiring a driver on board. This new regulation, which could go into effect in 2018, would remove the current provision which requires that in any autonomous car a “physical control by a natural person sitting on the driver’s seat of the vehicle.” The new regulation stipulates only that it is necessary to “oversee the technology independent” of any car without a driver.
The Department of motor vehicles (DMV) of California insured in a press release that this change was intended to remove a requirement that “might unnecessarily limit the development of the technology”, offering the possibility of monitoring the vehicle remotely.
42 companies allowed to test their cars
A number of increasingly important to technology companies and car manufacturers testing autonomous vehicles, encouraged by the new guidelines of the us government to propel this technology is supposed to enhance road safety. Several companies are already testing of autonomous cars, and some promise a sale in three years.
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“We are excited to enter a new stage in the development of this technology,” said the secretary of Transportation of California Brian Kelly in a press release. The director of the DMV to the State, Jean Shiomoto, for his part, stated that 42 companies had permits to test autonomous cars in California. The DMV “is pleased to see these companies and others to advance the technology under this new regulation,” she stressed.
Fears of certain associations
But John Simpson, director of the consumer association, Consumer Watchdog, has regretted this upcoming regulation. It will allow the technology companies and manufacturers to “do what they want,” he estimated. “They use our roads as private laboratories and threaten the road safety.”
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The DMV has assured, however, that any autonomous vehicle had to meet federal safety standards. But John Simpson has estimated that, in the absence of federal regulation, strictly applying specifically to the autonomous cars, “it is imperative that California continues to protect us”.
In mid-September, the administration of Donald Trump has published a new regulation on autonomous cars allowing more tests on the roads, believing that this technology could reduce accidents.