Finally, a relief for driverless vehicle researchers, as California issued the first 29 permits to Audi, Mercedes and Google for testing self-driving cars on public roads, said state officials on Thursday.
According to Bernard Soriano of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, permits were issued to Google for testing 25 Toyota Motor Corp Lexus SUV’s, two permits were issued to Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG’s Audi. The permits were issued on Tuesday in California, which has the highest population in the United States. Soriano added that other car makers are in the process of procuring permits.
Audi was the first to file an application for permits followed by Daimler and Google. Though self-driving cars were tested in California;s public roads without permits, the state legislature now requires the companies to carry permits. One of the requirements for procuring a permit is the ability of test drivers to take instructions for the self driving vehicle.
Germany-based Mercedes-Benz engineers will “teach” the self-driving cars to public roads in US as they are different from the roads in their home country. The company stated that its test drivers must recognize clearly when the car is in autonomous driving mode and must be able to override this mode at any time. Volkswagen is also based in Germany while Google resides in Silicon Valley, California. Audi mentioned that it was the first automaker to obtain permit for testing out self-driving cars in Nevada in 2012.
Earlier Google had revealed its plans to test more than 200 self-driving cars in California around its California headquarters. The permits now issued by California will provide a major boost to Google, Audi and Mercedes to test the autonomous cars in public roads.
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