California leads autonomous car testing with driver-free trials

15 March 2017

15 March 2017

Tech-friendly California is proposing allowing driverless cars to be tested on its roads without the need for a human in the driving seat. The move will pressure European countries at the forefront of autonomous testing to consider similar measures. 

Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles Jean Shiomoto said: ′This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways.’ 

In its Initial Statement of Reasons the California Department of Motor Vehicles comments on the increased capabilities of autonomous technology and states: ‘The proposed regulations promote the development of autonomous technology that has the potential to increase safety and enhance mobility’. As such, it is considering amending Article 3.7 to include the testing of vehicles that do not require the presence of a driver inside the vehicle. It has invited the public to comment on the proposals.  

The decision will pressure European countries that want to be at the forefront of autonomous testing, such as the UK, to consider doing the same to avoid being left behind.