Cars Without A Human Behind the Wheel

Look no hands

42 companies are now registered with some 285 autonomous vehicles being tested now, and over 1,000 drivers are specially trained and registered to supervise those autonomous vehicles while they're on the road.

In Arizona, Uber and Waymo have been giving rides to passengers in driverless cars without permission.

"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.

The proposed rules now enter a 15-day comment period, ending October 25, after which the DMV will consider folks' opinions, and take another look at the wording before setting it in stone. The driverless cars that may begin appearing will mostly be test vehicles. To date, 42 companies hold permits to test autonomous technology on California roads.

The administration has responsibility to regulate safety in the design and performance of vehicles, while states regulate drivers and vehicle operations.

Consumer groups have said that those concerns are grossly exaggerated and that safety should come first. Many safety experts believe that robot cars will prove far safer than human drivers. There are 285 driverless vehicles and 996 "backup" drivers on California's public roads.

But Congress is considering increasing federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) exemption caps from 2,500 to 100,000 - which is a wonky way of saying that it would allow automakers and tech firms to test (and eventually deploy) tens of thousands autonomous vehicles without components designed with humans in mind and required by federal safety standards. In addition, manufacturers must also certify their vehicles are created to operate in compliance with state traffic laws. Singapore has already established zones for autonomous vehicle testing, and other nations are pushing to assume the pole position in the autonomous vehicle race.

Currently, 285 self-driving cars are being tested on California roadways by 42 permit holders, a lot of them auto manufacturers or technology companies, according to the DMV. Right now, these companies are testing cars that can at best be considered Level 3 autonomous, meaning they still require some human intervention. Department of Motor Vehicles attorney Brian Soublet told reporters that the rules should be final before June, if not before.

The Senate version of the proposed law would not allow large driverless trucks.

California regulators took an important step Wednesday to clear the road for everyday people to get self-driving cars.

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