The Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking public comment on proposed regulations for driver-less testing and public use of autonomous vehicles that will no longer be required to have conventional manual controls such as steering wheels and pedals.
Current regulations require such vehicles to have those controls, as well as a backup driver.
The proposed change provides a path to the eventual sale and deployment of self-driving vehicles in California, state transportation secretary, Brian Kelly said in a statement.
The state has licensed 27 companies to test driver-less vehicles on public roads, including vehicle manufacturers from BMW to Tesla Inc; suppliers such as Delphi Automotive PLC. and Nvidia Corp; technology companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and China’s Baidu Inc; and a long list of self-driving startups such as Zoox, Drive.ai, AutoX and PlusAI. Also licensed are China-funded electric vehicle startups NextEV and Faraday Future.
Earlier this week, California granted a testing permit to ride services firm Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] after a legal standoff last December.
The proposed regulations enable manufacturers to certify that their driver-less test vehicles can operate without conventional controls. The cars must meet federal safety standards or have an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DMV Deputy Director Brian Soublet said in a media briefing on Friday.