Driverless Cars Can Ditch Training Wheels in April

The California DMV approved the use of driverless cars without humans, but with communication links.

A self-driving Uber car takes a test drive on December 14, 2016, in San Francisco Calif. (Aleah Fajardo/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The first day that Uber rolled out self-driving cars, the San Francisco Examiner found footage of one running a red light.

Come April 2, we’ll be bracing for more artificial intelligence trials and tribulations thanks to California’s approval of truly self-driving cars — that is, ones without an approved driver behind the wheel as a backup. The state’s DMV announced Monday that the Office of Administrative Law approved testing and public use of driverless cars.

To maintain the testing permit, companies must have a communication link between the self-driving car and its remote operator, plus with law enforcement. They must also submit a law enforcement interaction plan and notify local authorities of testing in their cities.

Cars for public use will have to certify that it’s equipped with a data recorder, plus technology that responds to road obstacles and cyber-attacks.

The regulations exclude autonomous trucks and other commercial cars.

The DMV’s first set of testing regulations took effect in September 2014, which required a driver behind the steering wheel. The agency has issued permits to 50 companies, from tech companies like Apple Inc. to long-standing car manufacturers like Ford.


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