California Prepares For A World Without Drivers

More than 30 companies have been testing self-driving cars on California’s roads and soon the state could go one step further. In a public hearing on April 26th in Sacramento officials from the California DMV said that the cars are soon so safe that they can drive on the roads without the requirement of having a driver on board.

Already several years Google-Waymo cars have been driving in California, and so far over 30 companies have joined the testing, including GM, Ford, Zoox or recently even Apple.

The car makers lobby for relaxing the rules for testing. Cars with a weight of over 10,000 pounds (4,535 Kilogram) are not allowed. That means buses or trucks can not be tested so far. Or that the regulations should drop the requirement of having the cars equipped with steering wheel and pedals.

On the other side consumer agencies are warning for hasty changes, as the NHTSA and the US government are currently preparing federal laws for self-driving cars.

Anyways, the manufacturers are massively investing into their efforts to turn self-driving cars into reality. Google wants to add up to 600 cars this year to its fleet, GM 300, and even startups such as Drive.ai operate several of them.

Germany on the other hand is lacking in its efforts. Only before Christmas last year the company finally received a testing permit for Stuttgart. Just to note, this is almost eight years after Google started its public test program. Mercedes, a pioneer in self-driving that started its efforts in the 1980s, received the test license for its own home town only a few months ago. Pitiful!

This article has also been published in German.

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