Consumer Group Applauds Self-Driving Car Rules

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"Our Palo Alto team has grown significantly this year, using research and innovation to explore and develop future mobility solutions", said Ford CEO Mark Fields. Ford will test autonomously in the second half of 2016.

Coming almost a year after its January 1st, 2014 deadline, the California Department of Motor Vehicle today released those draft rules governing the use and operation of self-driving cars on California roadways. The state of California has already pushed out the first draft policy on self-driving vehicles.

The company expressed its disappointment on the proposed rules. A consumer watchdog group, however, lauded the DMV guidelines. If there's a surprise here, it would be that Lippert also noted the self-driving cars becoming part of an Alphabet-owned public transportation service.

Other companies potentially affected by this legislation would be California-based Tesla and Uber. Specifically, the restrictions proposed by California regulators would make it mandatory for all self-driving cars to have a steering wheel and pedals, as well as a licensed driver behind the wheel.

We will update this story if we learn more. There would be no outright sales, however; automakers can only lease autonomous vehicles instead of making an outright sale. Manufacturers must submit autonomous vehicles to third-party testing to verify the car's "ability to perform key driving maneuvers that are typically encountered in real-world driving conditions".

Shahan also said other issues need to be addressed, including driver training in the event of an autonomous vehicle failure and what to do if the electricity grid goes down. This driver must be capable of taking over control immediately if the technology fails, or there is an emergency.

In addition, the operator will be responsible for all traffic violations that occur while operating the autonomous vehicle. Sometime down the road, the DMV says it will think about the “unique safety, performance, and equipment requirements associated with fully autonomous vehicles without the presence of a driver.”. If and once it's functional, Alphabet's autonomous taxi service's main rival will be Uber, a private taxi company that has raised over $10 billion in private markets.

Even so, the proposed regulations are still just a draft. The DMV has said it wants the regulations to protect public safety, but not be too onerous so that signature companies such as Google will be stifled in developing a technology with huge life-saving potential. While most of the rules announced by the California DMV are along expected lines, a few are seemingly out-of-sync with Google's line of thinking.

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