There’s no doubt we are soon expected to witness a flood of self-driving vehicles on public roads from some of the most popular tech and auto giants across the globe. Such vehicles may already be driving about your streets, collecting data to make the experience even safer for the rider, as well as others on road.
Adding to the list of states welcoming autonomous rides, New York has today announced that it is accepting application to make the public streets available for such test rides. The states joins the likes of California, Arizona, and Nevada in allowing tech bigwigs to test their self-driving vehicles on public roads. They’re each running tests in their own capacity and California even had to confront some trials to operate as per law — which saw some confrontation but eventually came around.
Welcoming the tech and automobile giants to one of the most alive, yet crowded states of the United States, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said,
New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to re-imagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers.
The current state budget allocated for this autonomous driving experimentation is very limited. The companies willing to drive their self-driving vehicles around Times Square (if that’s permitted) should already be prepping their applications to start trials instantly. It will put an end to the trials on April 1 2018, but the duration is expected to be extended further based on budget allocation.
Apart from the usual set of safety instructions, the New York DMV wants these auto and tech giants like Waymo, Uber, and Baidu to cover their autonomous vehicles with a $5 million insurance policy. There should always been a driver behind the wheel at all times, along with a ban on operating near schools and construction sites. At the end of their tests, the automakers will be required to submit a detailed report of their findings and results to the DMV by March 2018. It will then release a summary of their own in June 2018.
New York DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Theresa Egan is not aloof to the concept of self-driving vehicles. She is well-versed with the reality that these vehicles will one day likely be commonplace but there is a long road ahead before they truly replace human drivers. Speaking about the same, she adds,
We need to make sure these vehicles are safely tested on our roads while providing opportunities for the public to become familiar with this technology. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.