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DMV Releases Draft Requirements for Public Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles


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December 16, 2015

DMV Releases Draft Requirements for Public Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles
State Seeks Public Comment on Draft Document 

Sacramento—The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has released draft autonomous vehicle deployment regulations for public comment. This is the next step toward allowing the public to operate self-driving cars on California roadways in the future.

“The primary focus of the deployment regulations is the safety of autonomous vehicles and the safety of the public who will share the road with these vehicles,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “We want to get public input on these draft regulations before we initiate the formal regulatory rule making process.”

The draft regulations are intended to promote the continued development of autonomous vehicle technology in California, while transitioning manufacturers from testing to deployment of self-driving cars. Upcoming public workshops are intended to gather input from industry, consumer and public interest groups, academics, as well as the public, to help improve the quality of the regulations that will eventually be adopted for the operation of self-driving vehicles.

Senate Bill 1298 (Chapter 570; Statutes of 2012) required the DMV to adopt regulations governing both the testing and the use of autonomous vehicles on public roadways. In September 2014, DMV announced the regulations for manufacturers to test the vehicles. Today’s draft regulations address the future use of autonomous vehicles by the public.

The draft regulations are designed to address complex questions related to vehicle safety, certification, operator responsibilities, licensing and registration, privacy, and cyber-security. Key aspects of the draft regulations include:

1. Manufacturer Certification/Third Party Testing:
Manufacturers will certify to their compliance with specific autonomous vehicle safety and performance requirements.  In addition, a third-party testing organization will be required to conduct a vehicle demonstration test to provide an independent performance verification of the vehicle.

2. Licensed Driver Required in Vehicle:
A licensed operator will be required to be present inside the vehicle and be capable of taking control in the event of a technology failure or other emergency.  Driverless vehicles are initially excluded from deployment.  The department will address the unique safety, performance, and equipment requirements associated with fully autonomous vehicles in subsequent regulatory packages.

3. Three-Year Deployment Permit:
Manufacturers will be approved for a three-year deployment permit, which will require them to regularly report on the performance, safety, and usage of autonomous vehicles.  This provisional permit is a critical first step towards the full deployment of autonomous vehicles in California.   Data collected throughout the permit term will provide an opportunity to evaluate the safety and real-world performance of autonomous vehicles and inform subsequent regulatory actions by the department.

4. Privacy and Cyber-Security Requirements:
Manufacturers must disclose to the operator if information is collected, other than the information needed to safely operate the vehicle. Manufacturers will be required to obtain approval to collect this additional information. Autonomous vehicles will be equipped with self-diagnostic capabilities that detect and respond to cyber-attacks or other unauthorized intrusions, alert the operator, and allow for an operator override.

The DMV invites the public to participate in two upcoming workshops to discuss the draft regulations.

Northern California                                                 
10:00 a.m.                                                                  
Thursday, January 28, 2016                                      
Harper Alumni Center                                               
California State University, Sacramento                   
6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819

Southern California                                                 
10:00 a.m.                                                                  
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Junipero Serra Building
320 West 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA

In conjunction with the public workshops, the DMV has asked California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH), a research program of the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct a peer review of the behavioral competencies necessary to safely operate autonomous vehicles. The goal of the peer review is to engage industry experts, researchers, and other stakeholder organizations in more in-depth technical discussions of behavioral competencies in the context of the regulations. This peer review will also supplement feedback gathered in the public workshops.  

The DMV previously held three public workshops in April 2013, March 2014, and January 2015.  A Request for Information released in July 2014, collected information regarding the capabilities of entities interested in conducting third-party functional safety reviews and certifications of autonomous vehicles or autonomous technology.

The full text of the draft autonomous vehicle deployment regulations and the workshop notice is available on DMV Autonomous Vehicles.

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