Proposed draft regulations in California could soon impact how companies test their self-driving vehicles as well as how certain vehicle technology is marketed. California is among the handful of states that have passed regulations allowing self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads. At this time, there are 15 companies allowed to test autonomous vehicles on public roads as long as there is a licensed driver in the vehicle. California’s interest in supporting autonomous vehicle development is fueled, in large part, by the large number of Silicon Valley-based technology companies.
The new regulations would allow companies to test their autonomous vehicles without a driver under certain circumstances as long as the vehicles allow for two-way communication. Carmakers, tech companies, and disability rights advocacy groups had criticized previous regulations that required a driver to be present in the vehicle stating that the requirement stifled innovation and hurt those that the technology was meant to benefit.