Self-driving cars got an approval from California on public roads

self driving car

Legislation in the House aimed at ending the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ records has been revised to win Obama administration approval, leading privacy advocates on Tuesday to withdraw their support.

The move has been a long time coming, with the DMV promising back in December 2013 that it would post regulations for public use of self-driving cars and then holding a public hearing in January to address concerns about them. These new rules will set a statewide standard for all manufacturers. (Although Google has been running pilot programs in Mountain View and elsewhere, it’s not the only company pursuing an automated vehicle—Nvidia told Ars last week that Audi has plans to incorporate a “cruise control for stop-and-go traffic” feature in one of its cars come 2015.)

The rules also define what it takes to operate an autonomous vehicle. Operators must pass a special driving course and be ready to take over control of the autonomous vehicle at any time. The rules require operators to have an understanding of the technology, and to have no more than one point on their licenses for a traffic code violation.

Many had expected the move to take place with the state DMV having already pushed back last December such regulations in order to hold public hearings on the matter in January. There were many concerns over such vehicles and their potential safety hazard on roads.

Google, one of the forerunners in the self-driving car sector, has been doing pilot drives in Mountain View where the company headquarters is based. Now, there will be statewide standards all manufacturers must meet in order to sell their product.

Experts believe that despite the new rules, it will be difficult for manufacturers, who may be forced to look at alternatives in how their vehicles are made.

Self-driving vehicles now have some rules after the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) approved a series of new regulations that will allow for the testing phase of cars without drivers to go forth. The new set of rules will go into place on Sept. 16, 2014.

Many had expected the move to take place with the state DMV having already pushed back last December such regulations in order to hold public hearings on the matter in January. There were many concerns over such vehicles and their potential safety hazard on roads.

The text of the new rules being passed shows that vehicles must apply for a testing permit and secure a $5 million insurance or safety bond. The permit will be renewed annually, the DMV said.

To gain a permit, a certified driver must go through the DMV-approved training program that includes “defensive driver training, including practical experience in recovering from hazardous driving scenarios” as well as “instruction that matches the level of the autonomous test vehicle driver’s experience operating the specific type of automated driving system technology with the level of technical maturity of the automated system.”

Applications are now available in the state. They go for a $150 fee and allows for up to 10 vehicles on the road at a given time.

Self-driving cars have become much more popular, and even the hit HBO television series Silicon Valley featured one of the driverless vehicles in an episode. Google believes that through its financial backing and innovative teams working on the projects, a self-driving car is much closer to becoming an item on the road as ever before.

The new rules state that if the autonomous car is involved in an accident in any way, the incident must be reported within 10 days to the DMV. Also, if the operator of the autonomous vehicle has to disengage the car’s autonomous system for any safety-related reason, that must be reported to the DMV, too.

Do the rules put forth today give any glimpse into how conservative the DMV will be in laying out its rules for public operation of self-driving cars in the near future? Smith seemed to think that today’s announcement was a step forward toward a future of robo-cars. “You can see that the DMV is willing to push back against a range of commenters, from Google to traditional car manufacturers, and that the DMV is thinking on its own,” he said. “For better or worse this is an agency that’s going to act independently.”