Driverless Cars Will Be Allowed On California's Streets Next Year

The proposed language would also allow for the vehicles to be operated on California streets once testing is complete and the car companies have certified that they are safe and in accordance with federal safety standards, the agency official said. The public is invited to provide feedback on the proposed changes over the next 15 days, after which the regulations will be handed over to the state government to ratification.

Currently, there are 42 companies in California permitted to test autonomous vehicles on state roads, with these policy changes hopefully increasing that number in the future.

"A special permit is still required to deploy, creating regulatory uncertainty and raising concerns about the ability of autonomous vehicles to cross state lines", it said.

The regulator's suggested changes to the Golden State's red tape, published Wednesday, would grease the wheels for testing next-gen self-driving rides, a move that will be welcomed by techies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

The new regulations can be viewed at the California's DMV website. The new regulations would enact a universal template for reporting disengagements with a standardized form to disclose when and how a disengagement occurred.

In recent months, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ease regulations around the development of self-driving cars and the technology associated with them.

Although consumers can't yet get a self-driving car for themselves, the technology's long and windy road to market is getting shorter.

On-road testing required a trained safety driver to be in the driver's seat behind a steering wheel in case any of the autonomous tech fails. Singapore has already established zones for autonomous vehicle testing, and other nations are pushing to assume the pole position in the autonomous vehicle race. But California won't be the first to permit totally driverless vehicles on the heart of its roads.

California is not alone in the field of opening driverless cars to the roads.

The proposed regulations recognize that responsibility for motor vehicle safety resides at the federal level, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is vested with the authority to develop and enforce compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

Tesla Inc. says the cars it's making now have the hardware they need for full self-driving. "Today's action continues the department's efforts to complete these regulations by the end of the year". Those draft regulations would have put the kibosh on autonomous vehicles without a human driver, such as Google's steering wheel-less prototype.

Consumer Watchdog criticized the revisions, saying California should stick to its earlier, stricter state requirements.

  • Montenegro Chinchilla