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California's new self-driving car regulations prohibit falling asleep at the wheel

Emily Price
05.21.14
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California is fine with car makers test-driving autonomous vehicles on its roadways, but the DMV now has some rules on exactly how. Under new regulations, drivers (or riders as the case may be) will need to be official testers on a manufacturer's payroll and go through a special training program to get a yearlong permit. They'll also have to remain attentive behind the wheel -- so no napping on the way to work yet -- and notify the DMV if they're in an accident or have to override the car's manual controls for any reason. When it comes to cars, it's not a free-for-all. Manufacturers will need to apply for a permit for each individual vehicle, and cars are required to have at least five million dollars worth of liability insurance.

Autonomous vehicles aren't exactly new to California. They've been legal in the state since 2012, and Google has already started testing cars in its hometown of Mountain View. The new regulations created by the DMV are designed to put a few boundaries on that testing. While they've already been adopted, applications for the program won't be accepted until July 1st, with the regulations officially going into effect September 14th.

[Image credit: Flickr/Stanford Center for Internet and Society]

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