New rules drafted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles would mean all self driving vehicles need a human driver present at all times.
The new rules have not yet been agreed, and are still subject to public discussion and comment before any such approval, said Reuters on Wednesday. Companies developing electric vehicles – such as Google, Tesla, and possibly even Apple, would also require certifications and third-party testing, in addition to the submission of regular reports to the DMV for a period of three years. Furthermore, they will also require approval to collect data aside from safety information.
Even though the rules impose demands on the makers of self driving vehicles, the rules also define a direction for their testing. The DMV data will in future be used to guide further regulations.
Today, there are 11 companies which possess permits to test autonomous vehicles on Californian roads – all are required to have a human backup.
These and any new regulations are likely to affect more companies said to be planning to enter the self-driving car industry – especially Apple, which is thought to be working on its own car for release around 2020. Apple is likely of course to test the vehicle in secret for as long as possible, but in practice such a vehicle, if it really exists, will need to undergo government evaluation and real conditions, exposing it to the public in the not too distant future.