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Autonomous Vehicles in California

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Autonomous Vehicles in California

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 DMV has three autonomous vehicle permit options. A manufacturer can apply for:

  • a testing permit, which requires a driver
  • a driverless testing permit
  • a deployment (public use) permit

Each permit program has different requirements. Review the regulations for the list of requirements.

Through adoption of regulations effective on April 2, 2018, the DMV has the authority to issue permits for driverless testing or deployment of autonomous vehicles. All applications are will be thoroughly reviewed. The department will not approve any permits until it is clear that the applicant has met all of the safe operation requirements set forth in the regulations.

Notice of Adoption of Regulations (PDF)

Testing with a Driver

The autonomous vehicle testing regulations became effective on September 16, 2014.

Testing without a Driver

The autonomous vehicle driverless testing regulations became effective on April 2, 2018. Review the regulations for the list of requirements.

Deployment (Public Use)

The regulations governing the public use of autonomous vehicles on California roads became effective on April 2, 2018. Review the regulations for the list of requirements.

Autonomous Light-Duty Motor Trucks (Delivery Vehicles)

On Friday, October 19, 2018, the DMV held a public workshop to gather and discuss input on the development of the regulations related to testing and deployment of autonomous light-duty motor trucks (delivery vehicles) with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,001 pounds. 

Watch the video of the workshop.

Key Definitions

California Vehicle Code Section 38750 and approved autonomous vehicle regulations establish several key definitions, which relate to autonomous vehicle use in California.

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):
Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0
Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety

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