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More countries and states are embracing autonomous driving technology, proof of which is seen in the state of California. Driverless cars have been given the go signal by regulators in California to traverse the state without the presence of someone in the driver's seat. The Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of California announced on February 26, 2018, removed such requirement on autonomous vehicles.
"The Office of Administrative Law approved the driverless testing and deployment regulations. The department will post a public notice of that approval on its website and can begin approving applications 30 days after the notice," announced DMV in their official website. The new ruling by the agency will take effect on April 2.
About 50 companies have been given the license to test their vehicles in California, but the new ruling requires them to be capable of operating their autonomous vehicles remotely. The companies must be able to communicate with law enforcement and drivers, enabling them to alert external forces in something goes wrong with their AVs.
“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California. Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California,” said Jean Shiomoto, Director of California DMV.
Autonomous vehicles present many benefits to the public, adhered by driverless cars advocates, such as:
- Removal of human errors that may lead to accidents, such as distracted or drunk driving.
- Increased driving security that may save up to 1.2 million people per year from traffic accidents.
- Better transportation service that includes 24 hours of availability.
- Decreased gas emissions that contribute to the harmful gases in the atmosphere.
- More free time among families. An average of 101 minutes per day is spent by Americans in driving vehicles.
However, these benefits come with certain disadvantages. While the demand for specialists, such as hi-tech machine experts and software engineers, many other people like pizza delivery personnel are going to lose their jobs because of autonomous vehicles. Moreover, most of the people in the labor force do not have enough education or training that qualifies them to shift as tech specialists.
The Director of Consumer Watchdog said that the new ruling threatens the highway safety, as the remote control responsibility mimics video game experience, except that real lives are at stake.