Second Sacramento Workshop Set on Autonomous Vehicle Regs

California's Department of Motor Vehicles is required to adopt regulations by Jan. 1, 2015, on their testing and use and is seeking public input.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has announced it will hold its second workshop June 18 to aid in developing regulations for the testing and use of autonomous vehicles. Like the initial April 19 workshop, this one will take place in Sacramento, at DMV headquarters.

A state law enacted last year requires the department to adopt the regulations by Jan. 1, 2015. The workshops are transcribed, and the department has posted videos of the first one; one shows Ron Medford, safety director for Google Inc., pledging to work with the department as it develops the regs.

Senate Bill 1298 requires DMV to adopt regulations that establish the requirements for the submission of the evidence of insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance required for manufacturers' testing of autonomous vehicles, as well as the submission and approval of applications to operate an autonomous vehicle beyond testing, including any testing, equipment, performance standards, or safety standards. The department's online autonomous vehicle page says DMV, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, "may establish additional requirements via regulations which it determines are necessary to ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads."

SB 1298 includes these definitions:

  • "Autonomous technology" means technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.
  • "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle. An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, such as electronic blind spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and traffic jam and queuing assist.
  • An "operator" of an autonomous vehicle is the person who is seated in the driver's seat, or if there is no person in the driver's seat, causes the autonomous technology to engage.
  • A "manufacturer" of autonomous technology is the person that originally manufactures a vehicle and equips autonomous technology on an originally completed vehicle or, in the case of a vehicle not originally equipped with autonomous technology by the manufacturer, the person that modifies the vehicle by installing autonomous technology to convert it to an autonomous vehicle after the vehicle was originally manufactured.
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