California Sets the Bar for State Regulation of Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.28.28 PMBy Brooks Lindsay

Last month, a California law went into effect allowing autonomous vehicle testing on any California public road. The law, signed in May by Governor Jerry Brown, is the most important regulatory framework to date surrounding autonomous vehicle testing. The law deserves critical examination considering the societal changes that autonomous vehicles may bring and the likelihood that California’s law will be used as a legislative template by states around the nation.

California’s law purely regulates test-driving and does not attempt to regulate anything further—such as the commercial sale or consumer use of autonomous vehicles on California roads. Future legislation will have to include much broader provisions on the commercial sale and consumer use of these cars. In the meantime, testing requires here-and-now regulation, like that in California. Continue reading