Autonmous driverless vehicle laws set for September in California

GoogleselfdrivingnexusThe State of California has issued guidelines for laws governing autonomous vehicles that will go into effect September 16.  Rules for public use of driverless cars will be ready by January 2015.

DMV will begin accepting applications on July 1, 2014. A $150 Non-refundable application fee includes permits for 10 vehicles and 20 drivers/operators per application. The application requires the make, model and vehicle identification numbers of the cars being tested.

When autonomous cars are deployed on public roads there has to be a trained driver to take over in case of problems. If the driver takes over, it has to be reported to the DMV. The driver must have a clean driving record and completed training by the car maker. Training has to cover the technology of the cars and defensive driving to match the level of the automated driving system.

Testing companies  have to show proof of $5 million in insurance. Insurance companies are grappling with actuaries to figure out what to charge for autonomous car insurance. 

The testing company must report:

  • The total number of disengagements.
  • The circumstances or testing condition at the time.
  • The location or environment (i.e. highway, rural, parking facility).
  • A brief description can include weather conditions, roadway, etc.
  • The total number of miles each vehicle traveled in autonomous technology mode on public roads.
  • The period of time elapsed from when the autonomous vehicle test driver was alerted of the failure and the when driver assumed manual control of the vehicle.

All accidents must be reported within ten days.

Companies currently testing autonomous driverless cars include:

  1. Ford GM and Toyota in Michigan.
  2. Audi in various locations.
  3. Mercedes-Benz in Germany.
  4. Nissan in Japan.
  5. Volvo in Sweden.
  6. Google in California.

Automous self-driving cars could save tons of money. Some studies show that Americans want a driverless connected car  while others show that the public is worried. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found that people surveyed feel positive about connected vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits, have some concerns, and generally desire connected-vehicle technology when it becomes available. Pew Research discovered that the public wants autonomous, robotic, driverless cars even more than brain implants or cloned meat.