Robo-cars may soon make their way to roads as the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sets regulations for testing self-driving vehicles.
On Tuesday, May 20, the California DMV approved the rules for autonomous cars and testing of self-driving cars on public roads will start from mid-September this year. All car manufacturers have to abide with the rules to start testing their vehicles on the state's public roads.
The rules put forward by the California DMV are very clear. Car makers will have to provide a proof that the vehicle has been tested successfully in a controlled environment prior to hitting the roads. The California DMV also states that the operator or the driver of an autonomous car should be always present at the driver's seat and take swift actions to take control of the car at any given point. In case the autonomous mode has been disengaged during testing, the California DMV should be informed immediately.
"The regulations for the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles are currently being developed. These regulations will establish the requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their autonomous vehicle has been successfully tested, meets certain safety requirements, and is ready for the general public to operate on public roads. These regulations will be adopted by late December 2014," per the California DMV.
The rules laid down by the California DMV suggest that car manufacturers will have to apply to get a driving permit, certify drivers who are operating the cars and also provide a $5 million insurance or safety bond. The car permit will have a validity of 12 months and should be renewed on a yearly basis.
Training on how to get a permit for autonomous cars will be more complex than getting a normal driving license. In case of an emergency, when the automatic system of the car is disabled, a driver will have to show the presence of mind to manage the car without causing an accident. Training will get even more difficult as well as important for general users of a self-driving car.
It may not be long before people will be able to see autonomous cars on the state's roads. However, the current technology needs that the operator or a driver is present on the driver's seat when the car is on the move. Many people will hope that in the future autonomous cars are fully automatic and does not need that an operator is present at all time.