California Allows Fully Autonomous (No Driver Present) Vehicle Tests

Truly driverless vehicles are about to hit the streets of California. The naysayers who said this will never happen, or won't happen for a decade are about to be proven wrong.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is changing its rules to allow companies to test autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel — and to let the public use autonomous vehicles.The DMV released a revised version of its regulations and has started a 15-day public comment period, ending October 25, 2017.

“We are excited to take the next step in furthering the development of this potentially life-saving technology in California,” the state’s Transportation Secretary, Brian Kelly, said in a statement.

With the newly revised regulations, California drives a bit farther down the road for autonomous vehicle testing, but it’s not alone. Singapore has already established zones for autonomous vehicle testing, and other nations are pushing to assume the pole position in the autonomous vehicle race.

Within one year or so of final approval (not just testing), driverless trucks on interstate highways will be the norm, not the exception. Airport taxis will follow.

My 2022 date for trucks may very well be too pessimistic.

If you have a job driving nearly anything but specialty services, it will likely be gone by 2025.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

And Lloyd, I am more optimistic about driverless than I am about all-electric. I believe autonomous will advance faster than all-electric over the next 15 years, as the cost/benefit will advance faster. I still think that most autonomous vehicles will be hybrids with both battery/electric propulsion and gas/diesel propulsion.

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If the trucks are going to be driverless, and impact on gas stations negative, why did
Buffet just buy 25% of Flying J? Anybody have any insight into what he sees that I can't?

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I suspect Flying J can easily be modified to become a truck service facility instead of a food roadstop. He may just want the real estate.

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Automated buses would still need to pick up, drop off and service people somewhere too. They'll sell a lot fewer CB's but maybe rent more devices? Fun to think about.

Ok. This truck just killed an over the road "driver" job but became a boon to the transportation attendant industry because the technology exists to safely and efficiently move large amounts of people and stuff.

I am more optimistic about driverless than I am about all-electric. I believe autonomous will advance faster than all-electric over the next 15 years, as the cost/benefit will advance faster. I still think that most autonomous vehicles will be hybrids with both battery/electric propulsion and gas/diesel propulsion.
@Realist

Oh, growing up in the country I know in my heart you're right on a much larger scale than a lot of urban people realize. In the country, electric tractors and farm trucks just aren't going to cut it and seem even more ridiculous if the energy that's charging it is some other fossil fuel that can only be accessed through a wire. How much of the country still isn't electrified for crying out loud and is that really our long term goal? Wires everywhere? I digress. No. I think where EV could be very impactful is in population dense areas where a lot of people drive no faster than 35 miles per hour on and don't go more than 10-20 miles one way to work. Everything about that and light engine hybrids has the potential to change if no longer viewed as something meant for "federal highways".

I love what you're saying about hybrids. I also love what California is doing to induce/protect innovation. When I lived in Minnesota I worked real hard to get our representatives to deregulate our state roads so that local companies like Polaris and Arctic Cat to experiment with lighter engines and lighter bodies for lighter use applications like the deep country and dense urban areas. I didn't get much traction but we get so much more out of so much less, I feel like we're holding ourselves back because things used to be done the way we do them now.

Arctic Cat SXS Vehicle Styling by Josh Eyre at Coroflot.com
polaris concept vehicles side by side - Google Search
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I can't wait for the driverless RV. Since CA will not be part of the US in 20 yrs, their devalued currency, call in the Brown dollar, should make their vehicles relatively cheap.

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"Within one year or so of final approval (not just testing), driverless trucks on interstate highways will be the norm, not the exception."

I can't see this happening in a year. Every company owning trucks would just scrap them all in a year? What is the average lifespan of a truck on the highway? Production might be the norm in a year but not the highway traffic.

Self-driving trucks will be a huge boon for owner-operators.About 340,000 truck drivers in the US own their own rigs, and currently are restricted to eleven hours of driving per day. Self-driving trucks will enable 24 hour/day operation, together with a major improvement to the lifestyle of the average trucker as he can sit or lie down in the bunk area enjoying recreational activities, and just jump into the seat for the "last-mile" of the delivery. This kind of "driver-present" operation will enable driverless technology to get traction in the industry before every last issue is resolved

All electric would require massive (trillions)infrastructure investments by Government(s), all of whom are currently insolvent, and also a lot more fossil fuel power plants. Not going to happen.

Driverless trucks will happen for long haul, but there will be a lot of bugs to iron out for short haul, which poses some great potential liability issues.

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