When Are Autonomous Cars Coming to California?

Image features traffic in Sacramento. Learn more about autonomous cars in California.

When Are Autonomous Cars Coming to California?

July 11, 2019 | By The Railyards

There’s a growing buzz around the development and implementation of driverless cars as a supplement – and eventual replacement – of cars driven by humans.

These cars are being hailed as safer and more efficient than those driven by man, cutting out accidents caused by distracted or intoxicated drivers and opening up long commute times for productivity or relaxation.

But when will we see them on our streets?

Surprise – they’re already here!

When Are Autonomous Cars Coming to California?

As the world’s fifth-largest economy, California has been a driving force in the development of driverless vehicles.

With 61 California-based companies permitted by the CA DMV to test autonomous vehicles, driverless vehicles are now on the road.

And Sacramento is a major player in the testing of autonomous driving technology.

Sacramento Sets the Stage for Autonomous Vehicle Testing

The country's next real-world testbed for the urban innovation of driverless vehicles, California's capital is leading the charge for driverless testing in the Golden State.

California law currently requires that autonomous vehicle testing on public roads be monitored by a remote operator who is able to take over vehicle control in scenarios that the car can't handle on its own.

Being one of the first cities in the country with 5G wireless technology, Sacramento is in the unique position of offering streets where remote, backup operators can rest assured that their connection will remain consistent.

And Sacramento is prioritizing technological innovation in a way that no other California city is.

Sacramento's Autonomous Transportation Open Standards Lab

The Autonomous Transportation Open Standards Lab (ATOS) is a public-private consortium of government agencies and autonomous vehicle technology companies.

Working together in partnership to develop protocols and standards, the goal of ATOS is to position Sacramento as a leading proving ground for the safe testing and demonstration of these vehicles.

With a goal of accelerating mass-market deployment and adoption of autonomous vehicle technology, ATOS is working to:

  • Incorporate the state's first 5G network in order to efficiently power vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-pedestrian communications.
  • Enable smarter and faster regulatory approach.
  • Develop an open-source playbook to assist other cities with optimizing their collaborations with industry partners and public agencies.

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Consumer Confidence in Autonomous Vehicles

While the development of technology that will make Level 5 autonomous vehicles possible is moving full steam ahead, other concerns that are slowing the process of driverless vehicles becoming a reality include:

  • liability
  • legislative
  • philosophical

Not everyone considers autonomous vehicles to be a trustworthy mode of transportation, creating a unique situation where the technology is way ahead of a viable market for driverless vehicles.

Future of Autonomous Cars in California

No stranger to innovation and forward movement, California's capitol has placed itself firmly on the forefront of both driverless vehicle testing and application, also leading in evidence based policy development.

The Sacramento region's size and technological readiness make it the ideal location to act as a proving ground for safe testing and deployment of driverless vehicles.

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