Sacramento, California - The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced that the regulations governing how manufacturers can test autonomous vehicles on California roads went into effect today.

The regulations set rules for autonomous vehicle testing, insurance, registration and reporting by manufacturers. Today’s regulations only address manufacturer testing requirements; they do not address rules for operation of autonomous vehicles by the public. Rules governing public operation of autonomous vehicles are currently being developed by DMV.

“Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. The potential safety and mobility benefits are enormous,” said Jean Shiomoto, DMV Director, “Testing on public roads is one step to developing this technology, and the DMV is excited in facilitating the advancement of autonomous vehicles in California.”

DMV developed the autonomous vehicle testing regulations as mandated by Senate Bill 1298 (Vehicle Code Section 38750). Under the new regulations, vehicle manufacturers must obtain a testing permit from the DMV and comply with permit requirements when testing autonomous vehicles on California roads. DMV requirements for manufacturer testing include:

  • Manufacturer must register the test vehicle with DMV
  • Manufacturer must have completed previous autonomous vehicle testing under controlled conditions
  • Manufacturer uses qualified test drivers who complete a training program and obey all provisions of the Vehicle Code.
  • Manufacturer test drivers sit in the driver seat and are capable of immediately taking control of the vehicle
  • Manufacturer reports to DMV any accident involving a test vehicle or any situation where the autonomous technology disengages during operation
  • Manufacturer maintains $5 million insurance or surety bond.

The adopted testing regulations, along with other information about the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program, are also available on the DMV website: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/autonomous/auto.htm.