California May Allow Driverless Cars Without Backup Human Drivers

Autonomous Car

What's next? Skynet? Too late.

It’s pretty much a given that fully autonomous driving technology will be ready to go early in the next decade, with semi-autonomous tech already here. And you’ve surely been reading about how the likes of Volkswagen Group, Google’s Waymo and Uber are now testing self-driving cars. But those vehicles have had backup human drivers on standby just in case. The BBC is reporting that may soon change. The California DMV is now mulling over new regulations that would allow driverless cars not to have a human back-up during testing on public roads.

The BBC adds there are currently 27 manufacturers that have a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, but an actual living breathing human being must be present inside. This new proposal is essentially a framework as to how human-less testing would work and what will be required of those manufacturers in order to get started. "These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present," stated Jean Shiomoto, director of the California DMV. "This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways." We also just reported that self-driving technology is being developed for race cars and enthusiasts, specifically by Porsche.

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This involves that so-called "Mark Webber Mode," which will enable Porsche drivers to experience an entirely new type of track mode. Former Formula One and current Porsche Le Mans driver Mark Webber's own driving techniques will be programmed into software that's currently being developed, such as his braking and acceleration times on a specific track. More simply put, Mark Webber will "drive" them around the track.

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