WASHINGTON — California regulators on Wednesday unveiled revised rules on the testing of self-driving cars after automakers and technology companies raised concerns.
The revised state regulations will allow testing of autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the steering wheel, and public use of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, the state said.
The new rules are expected to take effect by June 2018 and come as the U.S. Congress considers legislation to restrict the ability of states to impose limitations on self-driving cars.
The first set of proposed rules were made public back in March. Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent company Alphabet Inc, along with Ford, Tesla, Apple, General Motors and others filed comments in April with California suggesting changes.
The state did not opt to change the rules to include commercial vehicles 10,000 pounds or larger as some companies had suggested. The revised rules clarify that passengers may ride in a self-driving car as long as they are not paying fees.
California agreed to allow companies to get permits for up to two years. The vehicles must follow all state laws “except when necessary for the safety of the vehicle’s occupants” or other road users.
Reporting by David Shepardson