California has been allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles for quite some time now.
However, they’ve done so with one major caveat; that a human must be behind the wheel and ready to take over in case of emergency.
However, that’ll change by June next year, because the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has revealed a major change in policy.
From 2018, it will allow cars without steering wheels, pedals, mirrors and, crucially, human beings to be tested on state roads (via The Verge).
California’s rule amendments mean Google’s Waymo will now be able to test its prototype, built without human controls, on California roads, for example.
California’s proposals will be subject to a period of public consultation until October 25, but providing there are no hiccups, the new regulations will be finalised before 2017 is out.
The new rules represent a major step forward, as 42 companies battle to realise the dream of fully autonomous cars, in the state.
California’s change in tack comes as other states build momentum with looser regulations. Florida and Arizona already allow for the truly driverless cars.
So, if you’re driving up the Pacific Coast Highway next summer, there’s half a chance you’ll see one of Waymo’s vehicles, riding solo, in year rear view mirror.
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