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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 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 December 16, 2019, the Office of Administrative Law approved revised regulations allowing for the testing and deployment autonomous motor trucks (delivery vehicles) weighing less than 10,001 pounds on California’s public roads with an approved permit from the DMV. The DMV can begin approving new applications as of January 16, 2020.

Order to Adopt (PDF)
Final Statement of Reasons (PDF)

In developing and adopting this rulemaking, the DMV followed the same approach used for past AV regulations packages, including a hearing and workshop open to public comment.

The DMV’s regulations continue to exclude the autonomous testing or deployment of vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds.

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

Public Feedback

The CA DMV values your feedback regarding your experience with autonomous vehicles operating on California public roadways. Please take a moment to describe your experience in detail. You may submit your feedback here: AV’s Feedback Form.

Please do not include any sensitive personal information such as social security number, driver license number, or financial account number.

 
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