Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Sacramento, CA, United States (4E) – The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) might allow autonomous or self-driving cars onto the state’s highway system as early as April. DMV said 50 companies have permission to test their sewlf-driving cars in California.
Self-driving cars that hit the road in April won’t be totally autonomous, however. As a safety measure, the DMV will require all self-driving cars be linked to remote operators. The job of these remote drivers is to keep an eye on multiple cars and to take over their controls if and when needed. The California DMV will also allow carmakers to hire third-party companies to take charge of the remote operation process.
To get their autonomous cars onto California’s roads mean self-driving car makers will have to comply with a long list of requirements. Their self-driving cars will have to have steering wheels and brake pedals.
If car makers want to test cars without those controls, like GM’s Cruise AV (Autonomous Vehicle), they’ll need to secure a waiver from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For all this to occur, however, means the California State Legislature will have to approve the new regulations that will allow companies like Apple and Google (via Waymo) to test their self-driving platforms with remote backup.
The regulations will likely to be approved Feb. 26, and will take effect after a month-long public notice period.
Apple currently has some 27 self-driving Lexus test beds on California roads. That’s a long way behind other rivals such as Waymo, which has hundreds of vehicles in several states. Waymo and Nissan have developed their own remote-driving technologies.
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