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Blog California DMV Says Driverless Cars Will Be Allowed on Public Roads in April

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California’s Department of Motor Vehicles passed regulations today that would allow driverless cars to operate on roads as early as April.

The regulations require a remote human operator – who could be miles away – to monitor the vehicle as a fallback. Still, this is the first time companies will be able to operate autonomous vehicles in California without a safety driver behind the wheel.

Players like Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors and Uber have been testing self-driving cars with humans monitoring from the driver seat, with hopes that they’ll eventually operate a fleet of autonomous vehicles for profit.

GM, interestingly, has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow the company to deploy a fleet of vehicles without steering wheels or pedals by 2019.

Of course, Tesla is also in the race to full autonomy with its Autopilot system.

If these companies have a remote monitoring system in place, it’s possible we could see driverless cars on public roads in a matter of months.

“It will be interesting to see which manufacturer is the first,” DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

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It is obvious that Waymo is farther down the road of driverless vehicles than anyone. That said, being first hasn't always resulted in being the most successful. The Waymo vehicles are really ugly and the extra equipment for autonomy adds so much cost to the vehicle that very very few individuals would ever spend the money on them. If the neural net works, Tesla's product will prove superior in the end because of the lower costs of autonomy. The race is on.
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