California Takes First Step Toward Regulation of Autonomous Vehicles

California has developed preliminary regulations for autonomous vehicles, anticipating the day when they will be offered for sale. The proposed rules impose additional certification requirements on users; permit manufacturers to lease, rather than sell, the driverless cars; and make the user, rather than the car, responsible for obeying the traffic laws. This latter requirement means that fully autonomous vehicles may not be welcome in California, as manufacturers must ensure that drivers are able to take control of the vehicle. Hearings on the proposed regulations are likely to begin in January 2016.

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