A restrictive legal framework in California?
The State of California presented in December 2015 a legal framework project aiming at governing the use of automated vehicles. Local American car manufacturers (including the promoters of the Google car) expressed their opposition to some strict measures which – in their opinion – will undermine the development of automated technology.
While California is probably the most active place for the development of driverless technologies and vehicles, the Department of Motor Vehicle announced in December 2015 a set of strict legal requirements which might be applied soon in this American state.
The most constraining measure is undoubtedly the obligation, for each automated vehicle,to have a human operator on board, able to act in case of technical problem.The measure is even more constraining since this person must hold a special driving license. Other measures states that only the users of the driverless cars could be held responsible in case of accidents, and not the car manufacturers (as expected by Google). In addition, automated cars will be available only for rent, and not for sale, as this will allow the car manufacturers to have a greater control over the vehicles.
The car manufacturers do not necessarily agree with the Californian authority. They point out that the obligation to have a special driving license holder per car block sthe development of automated public transport (similar to CityMobil2 – without operator)and does not allow people who cannot currently drive a car because of age of disability-related reasons, to use independently driverless cars.
The Departmentof Motor Vehicule highlighted that these measures are still a project and might become more and more flexible after a necessary introductory phase.
More information: Le Monde article (in French)