Is California Getting Cold Feet About Driverless Cars?
Once known for its leading role in allowing testing of autonomous vehicles, the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) all of a sudden seems to have made a U-turn, mandating drivers to be present and able to take back control of the vehicle at all times, if and when needed. This means that physical controls, such as the steering wheel and pedals, will need to be firmly in place as opposed to Google wanting to remove them completely. Clearly, the California DMV shies away from consumers being transported in fully driverless vehicles. Or at least that’s what is stipulated in the draft legislation, open for public comment, on the use of autonomous cars on public roads by consumers. This forms the second part of legislation required by Senate Bill 1298, the first part issued in 2014 and covering the testing of autonomous vehicles by car OEMs and suppliers. Interestingly, OEMs will only get a 3-year provisional deployment permit and will only be able to lease, not sell, their autonomous vehicles to consumers, putting further fences around their operations.
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