Autonomous cars could hit California roads as early as June 2018, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced on Wednesday after unveiling revised regulations for self-driving cars. The truly new thing about this announcement is that backup drivers will no longer be required to monitor these vehicles.
According to the proposed new rules, companies testing self-driving cars will have to notify local authorities about the location and time of their test, but won't have to ask for permission. Also, the cars will have the opportunity to be fully driver-less with no persons monitoring them, nor rearview mirrors, gas and brake pedals or even steering wheels in place.
These rules are now undergoing a public comment public and will then be submitted to the state government, and, if approved, could go into effect as early as mid-2018.
The Verge points out there are 42 companies testing approximately 285 autonomous vehicles in California right now. The state is a known hotbed for testing self-driving vehicles with companies like Google, General Motors and smaller startups hitting the roads regularly, and the new rules are just another push to make this technology develop faster.