state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has decided to allow autonomous delivery vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds to receive permits for riding on public roads.
Under the new regulations, qualifying vehicles include autonomous passenger cars, midsized pickup trucks and cargo vans carrying goods such as groceries or
The vehicles will
be required to follow the same requirements in place for testing and deploying autonomous passenger vehicles.
“The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon
could receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle, provided the company fulfills the requirements,” Steve Gordon, DMV director, said. “As always, public safety is our primary
Previous regulations did not allow for testing or commercial use of light-duty, self-driving delivery vehicles on public roads.
While the vehicles can be self-driving, they still have to be remotely “connected” in some way.
The regulations say that the self-driving delivery vehicles would require a communication link between the vehicle and remote operator as well as a process to communicate between the vehicle and law enforcement.
While 65 companies already have permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver in California, only Alphabet’s Waymo has a permit for driverless testing.
That is about to change.