California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will start allowing light-duty autonomous delivery vehicles on public roads for testing and commercial use.
Companies will require permits from the DMV, which will vary depending on if a backup driver is involved. The DMV plans to start approving permits in January.
According to the DMV, companies with a DMV permit can operate autonomous delivery vehicles that weigh less than 10,001 pounds. Qualified vehicles include autonomous passenger cars, midsized pickup trucks, and cargo vans carrying goods such as groceries. Theses vehicles will need to comply with the same application requirements in place for testing and deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles.
“The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon should receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle provided the company fulfills the requirements,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “As always, public safety is our primary focus.”
Currently in California, 65 companies have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver on public roads and one company has a permit for driverless testing.