California lawmakers released a set of preliminary rules that ban driverless vehicles on their roads yesterday.
The new rules require that a driver with a special autonomous vehicle license be present and available to take control of any “driverless” vehicle on their roads. The ruling bans autonomous vehicles that do not have steering wheels or brakes that a human driver can use. Lawmakers also say that manufacturers may not sell autonomous vehicles — they can only lease them.
In a statement, the California DMV says highway safety is the reason for the stringent rules.
Google, which has spent around $60 million on developing the technology already, is not happy with California’s decision. They had hoped to unleash their fleet of autonomous vehicles on California roads by 2020, but the stringent ruling will likely delay that date. A spokesman for Google said, “we’re gravely disappointed that California is already writing a ceiling on the potential for fully self-driving cars to help all of us who live here.”