California allows autonomous car without steering wheel

California will allow self-driving cars without steering wheel and pedals on the road starting in april. The state transportation department on monday (local time) overturned the previous requirement that a human safety driver be behind the wheel at all times in case of an emergency.

Companies from silicon valley, among others, had lobbied for the change. Developers such as google’s sister company waymo are working on technology for fully autonomous robot taxis. But also the car giant general motors recently presented a prototype without steering wheel and pedals.

In california, 50 companies from around the world have received permission to test self-driving cars. German carmakers are also among them. From 2. April, licenses for vehicles without humans at the wheel can now be applied for. However, it must be proven that the cars meet safety standards and are protected against cyberattacks, for example. And at least currently, the operation of the cars will be monitored by radio and the vehicles will record data – similar to flight recorders in aviation. In addition, a method of communicating with a police officer who stops a robot car must be developed.

California is moving ahead with the new regulations, while a statewide rule is stuck in washington. Other states are also taking the initiative, with waymo getting permission to set up its first robot cab service in a phoenix neighborhood in arizona.