What if a car was able to pick you up on its own?
California is now one step closer to that goal after the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposal that would allow companies like Google, General Motors and Waymo to picking passengers up in self driving cars without a driver present. A lot of companies have drivers present in the cars even when the automobile is in self driving mode. This new proposal, the first of its kind, could be the beginning of the end of that practice.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles already implemented rules this week allowing autonomous cars to be tested without a backup driver. The proposal from the CPUC is said to compliment the rules that have already been implemented by the CDMV but will offer additional protections for the passengers that participate in the testing.
The proposal is set to be voted on next month and would allow for companies to do more testing with autonomous cars while simultaneously getting the general public more acclimated to the new technology. A company must hold a permit with the CDMV for ninety days before testing and the rides being offered free of charge for passengers.
The proposal also requires that riders be at least 18 years of age and that no rides to the airport are allowed. The company doing the testing will be required to release reports to regulators regarding the miles each vehicle has driven, the number of rides they have completed and the number of disabled passengers that participated in the testing.
This news comes only one month after a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a 47-year-old woman while in self driving mode in Tempe, Arizona last month. The driver of the car walked away from the incident without injuries, but many believe the pedestrian’s death to be the first ever caused by a self-driving car. In response to the incident, Uber suspended all of its self-driving vehicles. The incident remains under investigation by federal officials.