Cars Without A Human Behind the Wheel

Cars Without A Human Behind the Wheel

But the federal government has offered only guidelines, not rules, on self-driving cars, failing to ensure public safety, advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said Wednesday.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles just proposed a revised set of regulations that will allow self-driving cars to operate without a driver behind the wheel.

"The new California DMV proposal wrongly relies on the federal government, when there are absolutely no federal motor vehicle safety standards applying specifically to autonomous vehicle technology", John Simpson, spokesman for the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, said in a statement.

"We are excited to take the next step in furthering the development of this potentially life-saving technology in California", said state Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly. Its overall goal is to pave the way for an autonomous-vehicle future being avidly pursued by dozens of carmakers, tech companies and startups. 42 companies are now registered with some 285 autonomous vehicles being tested now, and over 1,000 drivers are specially trained and registered to supervise those autonomous vehicles while they're on the road.

The state is not changing its prohibition on the testing of autonomous trucks, arguing that a separate rule-making process will be needed to allow for the testing of self-driving vehicles over 10,000 pounds.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only requires self-driving vehicles to meet federal safety requirements in the design and performance of vehicles.

Congress is now considering legislation that would loosen federal requirements on driverless-car testing.

Set on fire & left to die
Her body was covered with soot and blisters and her hair was singed. "The inside of her mouth was just charred black", Haley said. Firefighters who reported to where Chamber's vehicle was found burning had said that she told them "Eric" was responsible.

"The DMV regulations for testing are a good first step", said Laura Fraade-Blanar, a post-doctoral fellow at the Rand Corp.

Under current California law, any autonomous vehicle being tested on public roads needs a human backup driver physically present.

"We appreciate the (state's) attempts to streamline requirements consistent with the recently updated federal guidance", Newton said.

The bill still has to secure a vote in the Senate, though it appears on track to pass.

The proposals build upon changes put forward in March by the DMV, which is required by California law to open up the state to driverless robo-rides. Shortly after the new regulations were announced, Consumer Watchdog issued a statement condemning the state for deferring to the federal government's standards - or lack thereof - on self-driving vehicle regulation. They must provide police a way to deactivate the vehicle and communicate with the auto company.

Existing rules also require a backup human driver to be in all driverless vehicles.

Specific changes include, specifying local notifications on planned driverless testing, developing a template for how to report when a driver has disengaged autonomous modes, and identifying concerns that "would trigger an amended driverless testing or deployment applications to the DMV".

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