California officials are updating their plans to regulate self-driving cars. Although companies have been testing such vehicles on state roads for years, the Department of Motor Vehicles is now getting ready for them to be used by the public.
Fifteen companies have permits to test self-driving cars on California’s roads, including Google, Ford and Honda. The technology is far enough along that federal transportation officials just outlined 116 pages of policy around it, including what role states will play.
Regulators expect that autonomous vehicles could someday save lives, since most crashes are caused by human error.
Jessica Gonzalez with the state DMV says that regulators don’t want to get in the way of that process, but have to make sure such vehicles safe enough for the public to use.
“If we can prevent fatalities on the roadway, then everyone’s on board,” Gonzalez says. “Obviously, no one wants to slow down the technology – We want to make this happen, but we just have to get it right. We do not want to slow down innovation or technology in any way, but our job is to come up with rules for the public use of self-driving cars."
The DMV expects to revise its draft regulations and start gathering public feedback in the next few weeks.