On February 26, 2018, California approved regulations proposed by its Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) governing the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV) on California’s roadways. The most notable part of the regulations is that AVs can now be tested and deployed without a person physically present in the vehicle. Prior regulations required a driver to be inside and able to take control of the AV at all times while in operation. With this change, the CA DMV may issue permits for truly driverless vehicles to be on California roads beginning April 2, 2018, the date the regulations become effective.
Although the approved regulations do not give the green light for driverless trucks, motorcycles, or other commercial vehicles, California seems to be encouraging the continued research and advancement of AV technology, and may well be able to remain a leader in the space.