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California DMV releases proposed rules for driverless autonomous vehicles; hearing on 25 April

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released proposed regulations to establish a path for testing and future deployment of fully autonomous vehicles without drivers.

The proposed regulations address public safety concerns while recognizing the potential of autonomous technology to improve safety, enhance mobility and encourage innovation. The proposed regulations:

  • Recognize that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is vested with the authority to develop Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and enforce compliance with safety and performance standards for motor vehicles. DMV is requiring certification to meeting these federal safety standards.

  • Establish a framework for testing without a driver.

  • Identify requirements that a manufacturer must meet in order to sell, lease, or otherwise make their vehicle available outside of a testing program.

  • Address other key topics related to autonomous vehicle deployment, including driver licensing and responsibility, vehicle registration, and advertising of autonomous vehicles.

To gather public input on the regulations, the department will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, 25 April 2017, in Sacramento.

These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present. This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways.

—DMV Director Jean Shiomoto

The DMV received substantial feedback from manufacturers, consumer advocates, local government, insurance companies, and other stakeholders after it released revised draft regulations for testing without a driver and the deployment of autonomous vehicles in September 2016.

California has more manufacturers testing autonomous vehicles than any other state and today’s rules continue our leadership with this emerging technology. These rules protect public safety, promote innovation and lay out the path for future testing and deployment of driverless technology. This rulemaking is the next step in working with stakeholders to get this right.

—California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly


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The ability of cars to drive without any human involvement is what is needed for BEVs to quickly triumphs over cars with combustion engines. The economics is simple. BEVs will always cost more upfront than gassers because of the expensive battery. However, BEVs cost much less to drive per mile than gassers because of their low fuel costs, their lower maintenance requirements and their longer durability.

So the trick to make BEVs less expensive to drive than gassers is to put as many miles on the BEV as possible. We need to drive the BEVs 24/7 or at least 50k miles per year and we can only achieve that with fully self-driving tech operating BEVs as on-demand taxi services.

Self-driving tech also solves the BEV’s range issue and charging availability issue because you can always travel on in a new a fully charged BEV and the BEV can drive out and charge itself at night.

BEVs could probably succeed without self-driving tech but it would take many more decades to happen because battery development is a slow process that take decades to yield significant improvement. With fully self-driving tech being rolled out currently at Tesla and subsequently at the old automakers by 2020/2021 BEVs will spread as fast as it is humanly possible to make the 100 Tesla sized giga battery factories that the world need to go all BEVs in the auto industry. I estimate these giga factories could all be built before 2030. After that gassers will no longer be in production apart from spare parts for old gassers.

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