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California DMV tweaks rules to allow completely driverless cars

The state still has to wait on federal rules, but it's an important step.
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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California is already more accommodating to self-driving cars than many parts of the country, but it's taking that friendliness one step further today. The state DMV has modified its regulations to streamline the testing and use of fully autonomous cars (that is, ones that don't need anyone behind the wheel). Many of these are subtle but important changes. Car makers no longer need to notify local officials of the "operational design domain" of their machines, summarize all the instances when a car's autonomous driving disengages or certify that a car can't drive itself in commonly restricted conditions.

The DMV is adamant that it's not trying to override federal efforts to regulate self-driving cars. California will require certification for federal standards before their rides are legal. Instead, this is more about greasing the wheels once the feds have given the all-clear -- driverless vehicles should reach the road that much sooner.

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