California green lights fully driverless cars for testing on public roads

California will allow fully autonomous cars without safety drivers to test on public roads for the first time. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced the change today, which outlines a permitting process for companies wishing to deploy driverless vehicles without anyone behind the wheel.

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“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said in a statement. “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”

Last October, the California DMV issued revised regulations governing the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Among their many provisions, the new rules would allow autonomous cars without steering wheels, foot pedals, mirrors, and human drivers behind the wheel to be tested on its roads starting in 2018.

Today, the state’s Office of Administrative Law approved the regulations that would permit fully driverless testing. A public notice will go up on the DMV’s website on March 2nd, which starts a 30-day clock before the first permits can be issued on April 2nd. Companies can apply for three types of permits: testing with a safety driver, driverless testing, and deployment. …

Click here to read the full article from The Verge


  1. This is scary. I live on the North Coast, 31.5 miles “over the hill” on Hwy 20, a single lane highway, 272 curves to the next town. My GPS says it takes 1 hr 15 minutes to drive it but it is safely and routinely done in 42-45 mins. There are few turnouts. Are the driverless cars programmed to use the turnouts? If not, getting behind a driverless car going at the GPS speed of 27 mph on a highway that is posted at 55 mph, and in many cases safely doable will immeasurably slow down a long drive. How does the CHP ticket a driverless car for going too slow, particularly since CA law says if you have five or more cars behind you on a mountainous road, you have to pull over to allow for safely passing? In many cases, satellite radio reception is blocked by the steep terrain. What happens to driverless cars in those instances? Driverless cars on mountainous CA roads promise to be nothing but a menace.

    • JLS, the whole point of driverless cars is not safety. It is rather the retarding and extinguishing of indepedent thought, action and self-reliance by people, by imposing a condition of child-like dependency and incompetence. IMHO

  2. I fail to read anything in this article, or the referenced article, regarding
    libility; Where does the responsibilty Lie ? Or……….is this to be carried,
    as a tax, by the public in general ?

    • As human nature and judgement is known to be inconsistant, how do you think a court will decide, contrasting human error with highly consistent artificial intelligence? A no-brainer (pun here) since the computer contolled vehicle will no doubt provide event recorded, or logistical data of an accident to vindicate itself.

  3. You think things are bad now, just wait.
    It’ll be rich when that first “undocumented” driver is hit by a driverless car.
    Karma, Baby!

  4. The point is not “safety”, but to create an alternative that will supposedly be more inhumanly safer in operation, than the human driver will human frailties. From there it is a simple step to ban human operation as being an unessesary public safety risk.And oh yes….. the the vehicle will then control: when, where,and how, and even IF the human passenger will be able to travel, being linked in real time to other inputs (the State) to determine this. BEWARE There are others who assume they can do your thinking better for you than you do for yourself.

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