Autonomous Delivery Vehicles Authorized For Commercial Use In California

Photo: Nuro

Are you ready to be stuck in traffic behind armies of autonomous delivery robots? No? Well good news: if you live in California you can soon stay home and have all your stuff delivered by autonomous delivery robots. Starting January 17, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles will start approving permits for self-driving delivery vehicles. These permits allow for testing and commercial use, and there are separate permits for vehicles with and without backup drivers.

“The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon could receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle provided the company fulfills the requirements,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said.

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The requirements for testing with a driver include certifying that the vehicles have been tested in controlled conditions, maintaining a training program for test drivers, and ensuring that the drivers have a clean record and are capable of taking over manual control.

Requirements for driverless testing include certifying Level 4 or 5 autonomous capability, having a remote operator, and having a “law enforcement interaction plan,” among other things.

This comes after Waymo and other AV companies urged the state’s DMV to allow autonomous delivery vehicles at a hearing earlier this year. Just over a year ago, Waymo got the first permit from the state to test driverless vehicles without a backup driver.

What happens if you get into a wreck with an autonomous delivery vehicle? Do you just sharpie your insurance information on the damaged part of the vehicle? No word yet, but the delivery company should have all the video data they need to protect themselves.

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About the author

Matt Brown

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.