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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.

Testing with a Driver

The autonomous vehicle testing regulations were adopted on May 19, 2014 and became effective on September 16, 2014.

Testing without a Driver

The DMV submitted a final regulatory package, which covers driverless testing and deployment, to the Office of Administrative Law for approval on January 11, 2018.

Deployment (Public Use)

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) Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety

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