California DMV Announces New Self-Driving Car Rules

California DMV Announces New Self-Driving Car Rules

Self-driving vehicles are creeping toward public adoption at a not-so-slow pace and the California DMV just announced rules that bring them closer to the mass market.

New regulations governing how manufacturers can test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state have been announced and will take effect on September 16. Current regulations only deal with testing requirements for manufacturers and not the operation of self-driving vehicles by the public.

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The rules that come into place in September deal with manufacturers testing vehicles, but the California DMV said it expects to release regulations for the public to “drive” autonomous cars on public roads by January 1, 2015.

Under the new rules, manufacturers are required to file an application the costs $150. Assuming the application is accepted, manufacturers will be allowed to have up to 10 vehicles on the road with up to 20 people licensed to operate them.

Manufacturers will be required under the new regulations to register the vehicles with the DMV and to use qualified test drivers who must complete a training program. Any accidents or incidents where the autonomous driving function needs to be overridden must be reported to the DMV and a $5 million insurance policy is compulsory. Any manufacturer applying for the public road permit also needs to have completed testing under closed course conditions before venturing onto roads with other drivers.