A growing number of automakers are testing their self-driving vehicles on public roads — with the blessing of local authorities, of course. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has proposed rules that would sharply restrict the use of such vehicles on the state’s roads.
According to Automotive News, all autonomous cars would need a steering wheel and pedals when operating on California’s public roads. Behind the controls, they would need a licensed driver with an “autonomous vehicle operator certificate,” meaning someone who can take over control of the car if need be. Furthermore, said drivers would be held responsible for any traffic violation or accident even in autonomous driving mode.
The proposed rules directly affect Google, which is developing a new generation of self-driving cars with no pedals or steering wheel.
”We’re gravely disappointed that California is already writing a ceiling on the potential for fully self-driving cars to help all of us who live here,” said a Google spokesman.
Under the proposal, self-driving cars would also need to meet new safety and performance requirements, with testing and certification conducted by a third-party auditor. To get a three-year operating permit, manufacturers would need to submit regular reports on the safety and usage of their self-driving cars, Automotive News reports.
In addition, customers would only be able to lease such vehicles, and manufacturers would be required to send monthly reports to authorities about safety, performance, and usage.