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Totally autonomous cars with no drivers, no passengers nor steering wheels are set to roll out onto California's streets under rules proposed by the US state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
The regulator's suggested changes to the Golden State's red tape, published Wednesday, would grease the wheels for testing next-gen self-driving rides, a move that will be welcomed by techies in Silicon Valley and beyond.
DMV - Draft - Rules - Vehicles - Cali
The DMV said the draft rules, allowing fully computer-controlled driver-free vehicles onto Cali's public roads for the first time, are part of an effort by the state to keep up with the technological advances made by manufacturers and developers. The watchdog reckons completely driverless cars are now safe enough to run alongside human drivers.
Essentially, a computer system controlling a car can be entirely on-board, with a human supervising it remotely, under the proposed rule update.
Amendment - Technology - Board - Development - Technology
"This amendment was necessary because requiring the technology to be 'both remote and on board' could be unnecessarily limiting on the development of the technology; changing it to 'and/or' provides the flexibility that the technology can reside either entirely, or partially, on or off-board," the DMV said of the rule changes.
Under the draft rules, companies that want to let their fully self-driving cars loose in public will still need to show proof of completing private tests, and show they have insurance in case of an accident. Developers will still be required to obtain special permits from the DMV before they conduct any trials on public roads...
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