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California Lawmakers Consider Easing Self-Driving Permit Process

  

California lawmakers are mulling over the state’s rules for self-driving cars.

Currently, 20 companies have permission to test autonomous vehicles on state roads. Last month, one that’s not on that list – Uber – picked up and took its self-driving cars to Arizona, after a spat with California regulators.  

It’s not just Arizona. California’s list of self-driving car companies is the envy of states from Michigan to Florida.
  
Democratic Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo says that is a concern. Within the next year, he expects rules will be ready for companies to test out cars with no steering wheel or pedals at all.

“We’re kind of losing the public relations battle,” Hill says.
 
But under current law, companies ready to mass-deploy such technology to the public would first have to apply for a permit, then wait six months. Hill says that is not appealing when tech companies are racing to market.
 
“I don’t see what purpose would be served by that,” Hill says.
 
Hill is proposing to do away with that waiting period.

Meanwhile, another lawmaker is responding to the state’s dust-up over Uber’s unpermitted test cars. That was in San Francisco, where Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting has a bill to fine the next company that goes that route – $25,000 per car, per day.

 self driving carUber

Daniel Potter

Reporter

Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio