The CA DMV released a new version of their ‘Proposed Driverless Testing and Deployment Regulations’

The Department of Motor Vehicles (State of California) has recently released a new version of their ‘Proposed Driverless Testing and Deployment Regulations’.

Based on the public comments received, DMV has made amendments to the regulations for testing driverless vehicles.

The following are some of the key changes found in the newly released version:

  • Definition of “Autonomous mode”:
    • Earlier definition of “Autonomous mode” required that a ‘natural person’ be seated in the driver’s seat during the testing of the autonomous vehicle when it was either operated/driven.
    • Now, the amended definition reads that in “Autonomous mode” is a status of operation where technology that is an amalgamation of hardware and software elements performs the dynamic driving task, and that testing of such an autonomous vehicle can be either done remotely or on-board and with/without the presence of a ‘natural person’ in the driver seat.
  • Definition of “Autonomous vehicle”:
    • In the previous version of the definition, an “Autonomous vehicle” was a vehicle equipped with the technology that enhances safety or provides assistance to the driver with/without active physical control by a ‘natural person’.
    • There is an introduction of a new term, “a remote operator”, which would mean that a ‘natural person’ need not be present inside the vehicle that is being tested but requires the person to continuously supervise the vehicle’s performance of “dynamic driving task” remotely.
    • The DMV suggests that this change was necessary to clarify that the addition of “remote operator” allows autonomous test vehicles to be tested with/without the presence of a test driver inside the vehicle.
    • The definition also clarifies that the “Autonomous test vehicle” would be equipped with technology that can meet SAE Levels 3, 4 or 5.
  • Other updates to the definition (as per the DMV document) are:
    • “Dynamic driving task” is defined as “real-time functions required to operate a vehicle in on-road traffic, excluding selection of final and intermediate destinations, and including without limitation: object and event detection, recognition, and classification; object and event response; maneuver planning; steering, turning, lane keeping, and lane changing, including providing the appropriate signal for the lane change or turn maneuver; and acceleration and deceleration.”
    • “Minimal risk condition” is defined as “a low-risk operating condition that an autonomous vehicle automatically resorts to when either the automated driving systems fails or when the human driver fails to respond appropriately to a request to take over the dynamic driving task.”

The other amendments made to the regulations can be found here.

Suhas Gurumurthy