Driverless car driving licenses will soon be available in California. Here’s what you need to know about getting a license for self-driving cars, like the ones being made with help from Google.
1. First CA Driverless Car Licenses Will Arrive in September
According to TechCrunch, the first driverless car licenses in California will be delivered later this year. Applications for California driverless car licenses will open in July, with the first permits getting handed out in September.
Starting this fall, “regular” drivers in California might start seeing a lot more driverless cars on their roadways. But then again, the number of driverless car licenses might be lower than expected. That’s because…
2. Applying For Driverless Car License in California Is Difficult
The California DMV‘s application for an “autonomous vehicle” has a number of restrictions, which may make it hard for some people to apply.
The DMV’s list of restrictions reads, in part:
“A manufacturer shall not allow any person to act as an autonomous vehicle test driver for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads unless all of the following have been met:
(a) The manufacturer has identified the autonomous vehicle test driver to the department in writing, providing the driver’s true full name and the driver’s license number and jurisdiction of issuance of the license and the autonomous vehicle driver has been issued an Autonomous Vehicle Testing (AVT) Program Test Vehicle Operator Permit, form OL 314 (NEW 9/2013), which is incorporated by reference.”
Additionally, the person must have been a licensed driver for three years, and have had no more than one point added to their driving record. Additionally, the license applicant must not have been the at-fault driver in a car accident that caused either death or injury.
3. Driverless Car License in CA Will Cover Multiple Drivers
In the CNN video above, you can see one reporter’s driverless car experience.
“Though the rules are strict, it will only cost $150 for the license itself. The approved license also covers 10 cars and up to 20 drivers…The vehicle also has to be insured for $5 million to safeguard against personal injury, death, or property damage.”
In comparison, a “normal” driver in California must pay $33 for an original or renewal license for Class C driving.
4. Driverless Cars Live in Murky Legal Waters
In the video above from PBS NewsHour, Spencer Michels covers Google’s successful effort to get the state of California to allow driverless cars on the roads.
The main question many people have about driverless cars is simple: Who is at fault when a driverless car breaks the law? Is it the operator, or the makers of the car?
The New York Times sheds a little light on this legal issue, writing:
“In cases of parking or traffic tickets, the owner of the car would most likely be held responsible for paying the ticket, even if the car and not the owner broke the law.
In the case of a crash that injures or kills someone, many parties would be likely to sue one another, but ultimately the car’s manufacturer, like Google or BMW, would probably be held responsible, at least for civil penalties.”
However, there have not been any landmark cases regarding autonomous cars. Only a handful of states have any legislation on the books regarding these types of vehicles.
5. Driverless Car License Holders May Face Issues With Parking
In the video above, you can learn more about Volvo’s driverless car testing.
If you are lucky enough to get a driverless car license, you may have another hurdle to face: actually parking your vehicle.
CBS News notes that parking is one of the hardest things to program a car to do:
“In many ways, the cars handle the streets better than humans by avoiding other cars’ blind-spots and shifting slightly in the lane to make room for cyclists, Das reports. However, the software in these vehicles is far from being ready to ship.
One specific issue Google’s engineers are still struggling with: parking lots. With no lane lines and many cars shifting into reverse, it’s a challenging environment for driverless cars to operate in safely.”
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