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DMV Adopts Autonomous Vehicle Testing Rules


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May 19, 2014

DMV Adopts Autonomous Vehicle Testing Rules

SACRAMENTO -The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that the Office of Administrative Law has adopted regulations governing how manufacturers can test autonomous vehicles on California roads, effective September 16, 2014.

The regulations set rules for vehicle testing, insurance, registration and reporting by manufacturers. Today's regulations only address manufacturer testing requirements; they do not address rules for operation of autonomous vehicles by the public. Rules governing public operation of autonomous vehicles are currently being developed by DMV and are expected to be adopted by January 1, 2015.

DMV developed the autonomous vehicle testing regulations as mandated by Senate Bill 1298 (Vehicle Code Section 38750). In developing the regulations, DMV held two public workshops and published the draft regulations for public comment in November 2013.

Under the new regulations, vehicle manufacturers must obtain a testing permit from the DMV and comply with permit requirements when testing autonomous vehicles on California roads. DMV requirements for manufacturer testing include:

  • Manufacturer must register the test vehicle with DMV
  • Manufacturer completed previous autonomous vehicle testing under controlled conditions
  • Manufacturer uses qualified test drivers who complete a training program and obey all provisions of the Vehicle Code.
  • Manufacturer test drivers sit in the driver seat and are capable of immediately taking control of the vehicle
  • Manufacturer reports to DMV any accident involving a test vehicle or any situation where the autonomous technology disengages during operation
  • Manufacturer maintains $5 million insurance or surety bond.

Regulations are also available on the DMV website, along with other information about the regulatory process:

Save Time, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).


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