California's DMV Says It Will Allow Unlicensed Users To Operate Driverless Cars

Self-driving Lexus RX450h from Google's fleet 1 photo
Photo: Google
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, also known as the DMV, has announced it will allow people without driver’s licenses to ride in a self-driving vehicle without any additional permits or approvals.
In other words, the industry of self-driving cars might get a massive boost in California, as the DMV will allow automakers and tech companies to offer driverless vehicles to those that cannot drive.

It is crucial to note that the DMV just stated its intention to allow unlicensed people to use self-driving cars alone, but only if Federal Officials will consider those vehicles safe for public roads.

Until the NHTSA, DOT, and other Federal organizations will favorable evaluate self-driving cars, those that live in California and do not have a driver’s license for whatever reason will not be allowed to ride as the operator of these vehicles. Most likely, only driverless cars that do not have a “manual mode” will be left in the hands of people without driver’s licenses.

As The Guardian notes, a public hearing will be held on October 19, 2016, in Sacramento, where the redrafted regulations proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles will be discussed.

This is not the first time when the DMV in California attempts to control the autonomous car field, but the initial draft of self-driving car rules proposed by the organization required a licensed driver in any vehicle that can drive itself.

This time, the DMV from California has the precedent of a Federal Proposal for driverless cars, which would have to pass a 15-point safety assessment before being offered to the public. The safety check described follows an 112-page proposal regarding the topic, so this will be more than a standard driving test.

The systems of driverless vehicles will be verified from top to bottom, as federal officials want to be sure that each autonomous car will have multiple backup solutions for any possible software or hardware failure, as well as protection from hackers.

Evidently, the way its systems operate will also be evaluated, as federal officials want to be sure that a car can “see” pedestrians and stop before any potential accident with them or another vehicle.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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