DMV Issues Proposed Regulations For Self-Driving Vehicles

by Mark Glover, Sacramento Bee

Google driverless car

Steve Jurvetson derivative work:
Mariordo/Wikimedia Commons

The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday issued a draft of proposed regulations for self-driving vehicles, with key provisions that a licensed driver must be at the wheel in case of emergency.

The proposed regulations, which will be subject to extensive public input before approval, amount to a historic initial step that could someday allow everyday motorists to travel in autonomous vehicles throughout the Golden State. The draft regulations prompted excitement among futuristic vehicle developers, but also deep concern from a local consumer advocacy group.

Drawing quick reactions were regulations that the initially deployed autonomous vehicles must be equipped with steering wheels, pedals and have a licensed driver behind the wheel. The licensed driver must be ready to take control if the self-driving technology fails, or in the event of another emergency.

Ford Motor Co. officials said Wednesday that they would closely examine the DMV draft regulations to see if they run counter to Ford’s autonomous vehicles under development. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said it has a California autonomous vehicle driving permit to test its fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan on California streets in 2016. The vehicle was developed at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

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