One of the most common potential scenarios for autonomous cars is to use them as driverless taxis; Both Uber and Lift have made self-driving cars a big part of their future strategies.
The opportunity to ride without a driver came at least in California – as The Verge noted, California last week approved two new autonomous driving programs that allow companies to charge for autonomous rides.
The two new programs are the “Drived Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program” and the “Driverless Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program”, both of which allow approved participants to “accept passenger service, shared rides, and cash compensation for those traveling in autonomous vehicles.”
Naturally, interested companies must obtain the necessary permissions and show the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that appropriate security measures are in place.
They are required to obtain an AV Deployment Permit from the DMV of California and one of two permits issued by the CPUC.
Companies are required to submit trip data on a quarterly basis, including anonymous pick-up and drop-off locations for personal travel.
Companies include the availability and quantity of wheelchair-accessible rides, service levels for the “backward” categories, fuel type and electric charging details, vehicle miles traveled with and without passengers, and “engagement and backward communities with attorneys for access.” ”
Passengers, including people with “limited mobility, visual impairments, or other disabilities” are required to submit a passenger safety plan to explain how they reduce the risk.
Finally, permit-holders are required to submit COVID-19 emergency plans explaining how to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.
These new programs should open up the driverless ride-share market beyond the current small footprint – but as autonomous vehicle technology is still so advanced, it will soon be time for many California residents to get in the car without a driver.