California Releases Further (Proposed) Regulations Governing Testing and Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles

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On March 10, 2017, The California Department of Motor Vehicles ("Cal DMV") released further proposed regulations pertaining to the testing and deployment of driverless cars on California roadways.

The Cal DMV further evolves its currently proposed regulations governing the testing of autonomous vehicles to now include testing that does not require the presence of a driver inside the vehicle. Of greater interest, the department now proposes Article 3.8, an entirely new section focusing specifically on deployment of autonomous vehicles. There, manufacturers can find guidance on obtaining a permit to deploy autonomous vehicles on public streets; Cal DMV's expectations regarding the operation of autonomous vehicles, including a rather substantial self-certification process; and a required consumer or end user "education plan." Substantial user test data must also be preserved, which in turn raises continuing cybersecurity issues.

The proposed regulations move further to allow autonomous vehicle manufacturers to develop, test, and deploy their creations in a controlled and informed manner, while maximizing the safety of the public as this technology is developed.

Cal. DMV's proposed regulations continue to follow guidance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards governing the performance requirements for motor vehicles.

A 45-day public comment period will now follow, ending April 24, 2017. If no major changes are found to be necessary, the regulations could become law by the end of the year. For those who wish to appear and offer input, a public hearing will be conducted on April 25, 2017, in Sacramento.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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