Monday, May 23, 2016

CA-DMV: Autonomous Vehicles in California

Autonomous Vehicles Banner Image

DMV's Role

Senate Bill 1298 (Chapter 570, Statutes of 2012) requires the DMV to adopt regulations governing the testing and use of autonomous vehicles on public roadways no later than January 1, 2015. This page has been developed to share information on DMV's development of autonomous vehicles regulations and how you can participate in the regulatory process.

Key Definitions

SB 1298 established several definitions that will guide the department's development of regulations.
  • "Autonomous technology" means technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.
  • "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle. An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, such as electronic blind spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and traffic jam and queuing assist.
  • An "operator" of an autonomous vehicle is the person who is seated in the driver's seat, or if there is no person in the driver's seat, causes the autonomous technology to engage.
  • A "manufacturer" of autonomous technology is the person that originally manufactures a vehicle and equips autonomous technology on an originally completed vehicle or, in the case of a vehicle not originally equipped with autonomous technology by the manufacturer, the person that modifies the vehicle by installing autonomous technology to convert it to an autonomous vehicle after the vehicle was originally manufactured.

Regulations Development

As required by SB 1298, DMV will adopt regulations that establish the requirements for the:
  • Submission of the evidence of insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance required for manufacturers' testing of autonomous vehicles.
  • Submission and approval of the application to operate an autonomous vehicle beyond testing, including any testing, equipment, performance standards, or safety standards.
DMV, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, may establish additional requirements via regulations which it determines are necessary to ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads.
For additional information on the requirements of SB 1298, please consult the chaptered version of SB 1298 (PDF).

Related Information

This section provides links to additional information related to autonomous vehicles regulations.
U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Statement of Policy on Automated Vehicles (PDF).

Adopted Regulations for Testing of Autonomous Vehicles by Manufacturers

DMV conducted two public workshops in 2013 related to developing regulations for testing of autonomous vehicles. The proposed regulations were then published in the Office of Administrative Law's California Regulatory Notice Register on November 29, 2013. The publishing marked the start of a 45-day public comment period, which ended on January 13, 2014. After a public hearing held on January 14, 2014, DMV delivered final testing regulations to the Office of Administrative Law for approval.
The autonomous vehicles testing regulations were adopted on May 19, 2014 and became effective on September 16, 2014.
You may view the details of the adopted regulations by clicking on the documents below.

Information for Manufacturers Testing of Autonomous Vehicles

The autonomous vehicles testing regulations establish an Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program that is administered by the department's Occupational Licensing Branch. DMV is currently accepting applications for the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program.
You may view the requirements and application process for manufacturers to obtain DMV's approval prior to testing autonomous vehicles on California public roads by clicking on the link below:
As of March 22, 2016, DMV has issued Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits to the following entities:
  • Volkswagen Group of America
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Google
  • Delphi Automotive
  • Tesla Motors
  • Bosch
  • Nissan
  • Cruise Automation
  • BMW
  • Honda
  • Ford
  • Zoox, Inc.
  •, Inc.

Autonomous Vehicle Accident Reports

Under the testing regulations, manufacturers are required to provide DMV with a Report of Traffic Accident Involving an Autonomous Vehicle (form OL 316) within 10 business days of the incident.  
View Autonomous Vehicle Accident Reports submitted to the department. Each OL 316 is redacted of information that is not appropriate for disclosure under the California Public Records Act. 

Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports

The California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Regulations require every manufacturer authorized to test autonomous vehicles on public roads to submit an annual report summarizing the disengagements of the technology during testing.  This "disengagement report" is due by January 1 of each year.  The first report covers the period from the date of issuance of the Testing Permit to November 30 of the following year.  Subsequent reports cover the period of December 1 to November 30.
Seven manufacturers (VW/Audi, Mercedes Benz, Google, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, and Nissan) were required to submit their first disengagement reports by January 1, 2016.  
Four manufacturers (Cruise Automation, BMW, Honda, and Ford) were permitted in 2015 and are required to submit their first disengagement report by January 1, 2017. 

Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles for Public Operation

The regulations for the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles are currently under development. The regulations will establish the requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their autonomous vehicle has been successfully tested, meets certain safety requirements, and is ready for the general public to operate on public roads.
On December 16, 2015, the DMV released the draft deployment regulations for review. Two public workshops are scheduled to allow interested parties to provide input on the draft regulations. The workshops will be held in Sacramento on January 28, 2016, and in Los Angeles on February 2, 2016.  A full agenda will be provided prior to both workshops.

Autonomous Vehicles Workshops



Los Angeles

Previous Hearings and Workshops

If you have been unable to attend the previous workshop or public hearings, you may view the webcast videos of the hearings by clicking on the link below.


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