Google has been, for the most part, finding approval notices and open roads greeting their self-driving cars in a huge number of new places, all the way from Canada to Texas and Rhode Island. Of all the places for self-driving cars to find opposition to their full potential via local laws, Google’s homeland of California issued an initial response that left them “gravely disappointed”; in essence, the state said that testing self-driving cars was only approved if there was a driver behind the wheel, ready to kick the car into manual mode at a moment’s notice. Since Google was hoping to use their self-driving cars to kick off a massive unowned and unmanned transport revolution that would empower those who otherwise couldn’t drive, it was a bit of a blow. A new bill is being put forward, however, that may amend that and allow fully autonomous cars on California roads.
The new bill is called AB-2866 Autonomous vehicles, and includes text that, as long as normal safety conditions were met, “…would authorize, notwithstanding the above requirements, the operation of an autonomous vehicle without a driver in the vehicle or an autonomous vehicle not equipped with a brake pedal, accelerator pedal, or steering wheel on public roads for testing and operation purposes…” The bill proposes to accomplish this by amending current laws concerning transportation and the operation of autonomous vehicles. The bill is currently in assembly status, meaning it has a good few more steps before it can become law. Introduced back in February, the bill has already been through the ringer and amended before reaching its current state.
The bill is set to have its day in assembly for an initial vote on the 18th of April, but no further timelines for actions or hearings have been set, most likely pending the assembly vote on that day. If the bill passes all the way into law successfully, it outlines requirements for the state department of motor vehicles to comply with the new regulations by July of 2018. This timeline would allow for further development of the technology, as well as seeing how well it does in more welcoming markets. Check out the source link for the full text of the bill and what sections it amends.