Adding to the lengthy list of technology and automotive companies, Subaru has now been granted permit to conduct its self-driving vehicle tests on public roads in the state of California. This brings the Japanese automaker — popularly known for its dog-driven Outback ads — to join the league of twenty-two companies who are already running their autonomous vehicles around the state. These include Nissan, Ford, Google’s Waymo, Nvidia, Tesla and Faraday Future among others.
California is the favored destination for automakers who’re looking to conduct public self-driving tests due to the state DMV’s permitting program introduced back in September 2014. The companies need to pay a modest $150 fee to put their autonomous vehicle on road and collect necessary data. The state of Arizona is also a hot pocket for conducting self-driving tests (which now hosts Uber, who had a falling out with California DMV over permits) but Subaru has bagged permission to start their tests in the former.
Now, the Japanese automaker has been prepping for the said launch of its autonomous vehicles for quite some time now. Subaru already offers some advanced driver assist features through its ‘EyeSight’ platform. It is, however, now planning to introduce new features such as autonomous traffic jam steering and navigation.
Last year, the company had also announced that all of its next-generation vehicles (and by all I mean, each and every one) will imbibe the same design platform. This move falls in line with the company’s plan to offer semi-autonomous driving capabilities by 2020.
Also, for those unaware, Subaru is the brand name of widely popular Japanese automaker Fuji Heavy Industries. But, the parent company has just recently decided to completely eliminate any and all confusion by changing their name to Subaru Corporation. The new branding was first shown off at the L.A Auto Show back in November, but it is expected to come into effect this April.
Thus, another automaker has accepted that the future of transport are vehicles which can read and understand their surroundings to make informed decisions to navigate the roads safely. It is popular opinion that autonomous vehicles will make roads much safer as the growing number of accidents happening today involve human error — in one way or another.