Google, Mercedes, and Audi have been granted permits to test self-driving cars on public roads in California. While testing on public roads has taken place for a few years, recent state legislation has made obtaining a permit a requirement. In order to receive a permit, the car companies are required to conform to certain standards. Requirements include a $5 million insurance plan for each car on the road and the presence of a company employed and qualified driver. Being only the fourth of its kind, after Michigan, Florida, and Nevada equivalents, the California law represents some of the first legislation regulating the operation of self-driving cars. These early permits may act as models for future regulation as self-driving cars become ubiquitous.
Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Testing on public roads is one step to developing this technology, and the DMV is excited in facilitating the advancement of autonomous vehicles in California.”
While these companies are the first to receive California’s testing permit, they will likely not be the last. Other companies including Ford, General Motors, and Nissan are experimenting with automated cars. General Motors is already planning on rolling out Cadillac cars with limited automated features as early as 2017. Some experts say fully self-driving cars could be available by 2020. While numerous companies are racing for a final product, Google is the current forerunner on the basis of pure volume. While Audi and Mercedes have 2 permitted vehicles each on the roads of California, Google has 25 approved vehicles, all of which are Lexus SUV’s. According to an HIS automotive study, consumers could expect as many as 230,000 self-driving cars on roads around the world by 2025.
Read More – Audi Gets First Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars On California Roads (David Undercoffler, LA Times)