Here Comes a New Complaint About Californian Drivers…

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If you are riding in California anytime soon, you might want to think twice before blaming the state’s fleet of drivers, as The Golden State just made it legal for self-driving cars to operate without a human behind the wheel.

While similar actions have stalled in the US Congress (the SELF DRIVE ACT is stuck in a Senate committee), states have begun to take matters into their own hands, like they did in Arizona.

That is right, the dawn of truly autonomous vehicles has just arrived, and it is primed to change the driving landscape as we know it, which by correlation means changes for the motorcycle community as well.

Announced on Monday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) approved rules that would make it legal for automated vehicles to operate without a human behind the wheel. 

The rules take effect on April 2nd, 2018 – just so there won’t be any April Fools confusion over the matter.

Previously, vehicles could operate autonomously, so long as a human was there in the driver’s seat to intervene should the need arise.

This announcement paves the way for companies like Waymo (Google), Uber, and GM to start producing fleets of autonomous cars that can act like driver-less taxis in California.

Of interest, the DMV’s rules stipulate that the permitted autonomous vehicles (in California, a company still needs to apply for self-driving car permit in order to operate) must have remote driver capability, so an actual human can take control of the vehicle if necessary, via an internet connection.

This creates an interesting vulnerability for autonomous vehicles, as by design they will require the use of a backdoor control mechanism. Those with conspiracy hats are already dreaming up ways this remote override could be abused and used for nefarious reasons.

Law enforcement officials have also made some requirements for these driverless vehicles, and there are still undefined requirements on how an autonomous vehicle will interact with peace officers, and what data will be made available to law enforcement agencies from these autonomous vehicle companies.

As you can see, it is a brave new world, but the next time you complain in your helmet about the jerk in the car in front of you, there might not be a driver there at all.

Source: Ars Technica

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.