Thanks to a lot of effort from automakers and Silicon Valley, we've seen some incredible advancements in self-driving technology in recent years. Unfortunately, this industry is evolving at such a rapid pace that lawmakers struggle to follow. While the US regulators have yet to implement specific driverless vehicles standards on a federal level, things are finally moving forward as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently published detailed guidelines for automakers which will likely be used as a basis for federal laws. However, some states aren't waiting for that to happen and are taking the matter of regulating driverless vehicles in their own hands.
California is one of those states and given how it hosts a large variety of tech giants and automakers, its decisions are always under heavy scrutiny. The state has recently made some rather unpopular moves which were met with harsh criticism from Silicon Valley so it's now trying a different approach. Earlier this week, California proposed to fully adopt the aforementioned guidelines which are still completely voluntary at a federal level. As it turns out, Google and major automakers aren't too fond of that idea, either. Namely, the Mountain View-based tech giant has protested this proposal at a hearing held in Sacramento yesterday. The company was backed by the likes of Volkswagen, Honda, General Motors, and Ford.
While most of the guidelines published by the NHTSA seem relatively reasonable, Google and automakers protested several points. More specifically, they're against a proposed requirement that they have to conduct a year of testing of each new driverless vehicle before they can apply for an operating permit. The companies claim that this significantly hinders development given how major advancements in the field are incredibly frequent and conducting year-long tests for each and every one before testing it on public roads would slow down research to a crawl. Car manufacturers also protested the fact that proposed regulations would allow police to get access to any kind of self-driving data within 24 hours without a warrant. It remains to be seen whether the State of California will take these objections into account when considering proposed regulations but we should find that out soon enough.