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Self-driving cars take step forward with new outlined regulations in California

Autonomous cars without backup drivers could come to California roads before June Autonomous cars without human drivers will be allowed on California roads starting next year
Cris De Lacerda | 13 Octubre, 2017, 07:57

Are California freeways ready for driverless cars with no one behind the wheel?

Last week, a Senate panel approved a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls in the United States, a measure that also bars states from imposing regulatory road blocks.

It's been announced that, starting next year, California will allow autonomous vehicles to drive on its roads without the need for a human to be sitting behind the wheel.

Current regulations and the proposed changes can be viewed on the DMV website.

The state reports that it has had autonomous vehicle testing regulations in place since 2014 and that 42 different companies are allowed to test driverless tech on California's roads.

Although some companies have experimented with cars that lack a steering wheel or pedals, those kinds of advances likely are several years beyond the first models. Their updated policy, working from a March 10th regulation, was changed in relation to feedback the organization received from businesses, consumers, insurance companies, and other entities. Coincidentally, U.S. Congress is currently reviewing new legislation to restrict state power over self-driving car rules and limitations. On the flip side, the Association of Global Automakers said that the changes do not go far enough, given that a "special permit is still required to deploy, creating regulatory uncertainty and raising concerns about the ability of autonomous vehicles to cross state lines". The regulations require manufacturers to certify to meeting federal safety standards as a prerequisite for both testing and deployment. Singapore has already established zones for autonomous vehicle testing, and other nations are pushing to assume the pole position in the autonomous vehicle race. It may also arrive before, as said by the officials. "That code states that "'local authorities' means the legislative body of every county or municipality having authority to adopt local police regulations".

The federal government will continue to set safety standards for automobiles, while the state's role is to make sure vehicles traveling on state highways conform to federal standards, the DMV said. Before approval of those, the regulations will be made subjected to the public comment period, which will be ending by October 25 and then will be submitted to the enforcement of the State Government. Tons of companies including Google, Uber, GM and more are currently testing their prototypes. This includes the requirement of the manufacturers to notify local governments when they test a self-driving car.

John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said Wednesday that California is ceding too much authority to the Trump administration. The new California regulations wouldn't either.