California drivers may find themselves pulling up next to cars with no one at the wheel 😱
CNET reports this could happen as soon as April. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles made the announcement Monday. This is thanks to a recent change in regulation that now doesn’t require a driver to be in an autonomous car during testing. New rules state that carmakers have to establish a communications link between the car and the remote operator. The same connection must be made between the vehicle and law enforcement officials. If it’s involved in a crash, the car has to be able to transmit the owner and operator’s information. They also have to be able to detect and shield themselves from cyber attacks. Those rules go into effect starting April 2.
The Director of the DMV, Joan Shimoto said in a statement, “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.” Since 2009, Google has been testing out self-driving cars, racking up more than three million miles doing so. Uber started experimenting in 2015. They’ve logged one million miles across California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Automakers including Toyota, Ford, Tesla, and Volvo are working on projects. Even Apple and Intel are looking to get in on self-driving vehicles. At this point, 50 companies have gotten permits to test autonomous cars in California.