Driverless Autonomous Cars Can Now Be Tested in California

New regulations that allow driverless autonomous cars to be tested on California roads were officially approved by the California Office of Administrative Law on Monday, reports the San Francisco Examiner.

Starting on April 2, companies in the Bay Area that are working on self-driving vehicle technology will be able to deploy cars that do not have a driver behind the wheel. The new autonomous vehicle regulations have been under review since January 11, but were green lit this morning.

lexussuvselfdriving2
The news is of interest as Apple is one of more than 50 companies testing self-driving vehicle technology in the Bay Area. For almost a year now, Apple has been testing autonomous driving software in a series of 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can often be seen on the streets surrounding its Cupertino headquarters.

While little has been said about Apple's testing efforts in recent months, the company was spotted using new LIDAR equipment in August of 2017, and as of January 2018, Apple has 27 vehicles running autonomous driving software, up from the three it started with last year.

With the new regulations in place, Apple can potentially apply for a new deployment permit with the California DMV that would allow it to test its software sans drivers. It's not known, however, if Apple is ready for that kind of advanced testing.

While California is allowing companies to deploy and test fully autonomous driverless cars, a "communication link" must be maintained between the testing vehicle and remote operators. All remote vehicle operators must monitor the status of driverless vehicles at all times and be ready to step in should the vehicle experience "failures that would endanger the safety of the vehicle's passengers or other road users." Cars must be protected from cyberattacks and must also be able to transmit information in the event of a crash.

Companies must also certify that a vehicle is capable of operating without the presence of a driver and develop a "law enforcement interaction plan" to be provided to the California Highway Patrol.

Should Apple choose to take advantage of the new policies, the company will need to obtain a permit from the California DMV, and granted permits are made available to the public. So should Apple opt for this route, it won't be able to keep its work secret. These kinds of regulations have already spurred Apple CEO Tim Cook to confirm the company's work on autonomous systems.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems. It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on," Cook said back in June of 2017.

Some other states have already adopted more relaxed rules that allow companies to deploy autonomous vehicles without drivers. In Arizona, for example, Google-owned company Waymo is already operating autonomous minivans sans safety driver.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

Tozovac Avatar
51 months ago
I hope apple doesn’t design autonomous driving cars like it designs its hardware and software today — with complete obliviousness and disregard towards consumer preference.

Customer: Siri, please take me to the basketball court.
Apple car: I’m sorry, you really don’t know what you want, we believe the future is racquetball. You must buy a basketball dongle if you want to use your basketball.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
obezcinnet Avatar
51 months ago
I hope apple doesn’t design autonomous driving cars like it designs its hardware and software today — with complete obliviousness and disregard towards consumer preference.
you dont get it, and probably won't get it even if someone explains it in laymans terms.
this is an important step further for autonomous driving and AI/ tight integration between hardware and software is the best fit for this purpose. consumer doesn't need to modify the hardware or software for self driving cars. your basketball court analogy is absurd.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasvncnt Avatar
51 months ago
Hopefully when the cars battery degrades it doesn't forceably slow the car down....or just shut down while your on the highway :) /s
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
filmantopia Avatar
51 months ago
How awesome. First step of a long journey ahead. Crazy to think my future kids may never drive a car.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tzm41 Avatar
51 months ago
Future is coming. I am so excited and can't wait for the energy, time, and lives saved by autonomous vehicles. On the road I see countless drivers behind the wheels playing with their cell phones. It will be revolutionary when we free up so much time for people.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tozovac Avatar
51 months ago
you dont get it, and probably won't get it even if someone explains it in laymans terms.
this is an important step further for autonomous driving and AI/ tight integration between hardware and software is the best fit for this purpose. consumer doesn't need to modify the hardware or software for self driving cars. your basketball court analogy is absurd.
No it’s not absurd.

Lighten up Francis, it’s a joke. Just like Apple disregards customer preferences with highly controversial decisions for things such as headphone jacks, USB 3 ports, expandability, MagSafe, etc., I was just making a joke. There is an interesting YouTube video about why Apple does the things it does, centering on their belief that only they know what’s next and best for the customer, not the customer. If I can find it, I’ll share for your insight to understand my metaphor. Is that layman enough to understand?
[doublepost=1519699236][/doublepost]
Future is coming. I am so excited and can't wait for the energy, time, and lives saved by autonomous vehicles. On the road I see countless drivers behind the wheels playing with their cell phones. It will be revolutionary when we free up so much time for people.
The funny thing is we currently have self-driving vehicles that could free people up to text or work or relax instead of drive. They are called buses and taxis, just unfortunately with infrastructures that currently aren’t as flexible as they’d need to be, especially for those in the suburbs. Considering how much more fuel-efficient a bus could be vs. 24 self-driving cars, it's too bad public transportation isn't more well-developed...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
iphone se 2020 top

iPhone SE With Larger 5.7-Inch Display May Launch in 2023, 'iPhone SE+ 5G' Also Rumored

Monday January 17, 2022 6:46 am PST by
Apple is planning to release a fourth-generation iPhone SE with a larger 5.7-inch display as early as 2023, according to display industry consultant Ross Young, who has proven to be a reliable source of information for future Apple products. The fourth-generation iPhone SE has until now been rumored to launch in 2024, but Young now says a 2023 release is looking more likely....
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...