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Autonomous Vehicles in California


Autonomous Vehicles in California

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Testing of Autonomous Vehicles
Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles for Public Operation

April 25, 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Proposed Regulations Public Hearing Live Stream:

View the public hearing at and on DMV’s Facebook page at

DMV's Role

California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 38750 requires the DMV to adopt regulations governing both the testing and public use of autonomous vehicles on California roadways. The autonomous vehicles testing regulations were adopted on May 19, 2014 and became effective on September 16, 2014. The regulations for the deployment of autonomous vehicles are currently under development. On December 16, 2015, the DMV released the draft deployment regulations for review. The proposed regulations to establish a path for the testing and deployment of fully autonomous vehicles in California were published on March 10, 2017 and began the 45 day public comment period. The DMV will hold a public hearing in Sacramento to gather input on the proposed regulations on April 25, 2017.

Key Definitions

California Vehicle Code Section 38750 established several definitions that will guide the department's development of regulations.

  • "Autonomous technology" means technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.
  • "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle. An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, such as electronic blind spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and traffic jam and queuing assist.
  • An "operator" of an autonomous vehicle is the person who is seated in the driver's seat, or if there is no person in the driver's seat, causes the autonomous technology to engage.
  • A "manufacturer" of autonomous technology is the person that originally manufactures a vehicle and equips autonomous technology on an originally completed vehicle or, in the case of a vehicle not originally equipped with autonomous technology by the manufacturer, the person that modifies the vehicle by installing autonomous technology to convert it to an autonomous vehicle after the vehicle was originally manufactured.

Related Information

This section provides links to additional information related to autonomous vehicles regulations.

U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Statement of Policy on Automated Vehicles (PDF).

U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (PDF).

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