The State of California, Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed some rulemaking on the regulations related to mobility services.
Though the commission’s “proposed decision” is not yet in legal effect, comments from the interested parties (of record) are welcomed.
The “proposed decision” is mainly concerned with the setting up of a framework and two pilot programs for entities using Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to provide passenger service.
The California DMV allows manufacturers to offer three types of autonomous vehicle permit options as follows:
- a testing permit, which requires a driver
- 50+ manufacturers already hold permits for ‘drivered’ autonomous vehicle testing.
- a driverless testing permit
- The DMV will commence issuing permits, as per the applicable regulations effective April 2, 2018.
- a deployment permit
- The DMV will also commence issuing permits to deploy AVs for public use from April 2, 2018, as long as the manufacturers hold the respective (drivered/driverless) permit.
The commission’s intention of the ‘proposed decision’ is to allow the introduction of AVs to the public on a pilot basis.
Currently, the two pilot (deployment) programs proposed are:
Drivered AV Passenger Service
The first pilot program allows Transport Charter-Party (TCP) permit holders to provide passenger service using AVs with a driver in the vehicle.
Driverless AV Passenger Service
The second pilot program allows TCP permit holders to provide passenger services using AVs in driverless mode and requires them to follow the remote operator requirements.
Requirements common to both the programs are that the TCP should be a permit holder of the respective (drivered/driverless) AVs and must have an ‘operational experience’ of a minimum of 90 days on roads. It is also required that the TCPs must offer both services free of cost to passengers.
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Suhas Gurumurthy, SBD