California relaxes restrictions on driverless cars | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

California relaxes restrictions on driverless cars

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California has tweaked the rules on self-driving cars to get more on the state’s roads, but has not necessarily gone as far as the carmakers may have wanted.

Engadet reports that the state’s Department for Motor Vehicles has rejected a planned rule suggested by GM that would have let companies avoid liability for an autonomous vehicle crash if the machine hadn’t been maintained to manufacturer specs. “In other words,” the report says, “they could have been let off the hook if your car’s sensors were muddy, even if an accident was really due to bad code.”

The report explains the DMV ditched the idea after reading comments objecting to the potential rule. The comment period ends on 15th December, and the completed regulations should take effect sometime in early 2018.

“California’s change of heart doesn’t amount to a sudden crackdown on self-driving cars, but it does reflect an evolving approach where it’s not quite so willing to give brands everything they want,” the report continues. “This might also help settle the ongoing questions about liability in driverless car crashes. If owners are less likely to be blamed for accidents, automakers may be more cautious with development in order to avoid paying for costly mistakes.”


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