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California to allow testing of self-driving cars without a driver present

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles established new rules announced Monday.

These new rules will allow tech companies and others working on driverless vehicle systems to begin trialing their cars without a safety driver at the wheel. The new rules go into effect starting April 2.

Until now, the DMV has allowed companies approved for autonomous vehicle testing to run their cars on the roads, with autonomous driving systems engaged, provided that there’s a trained safety driver behind the wheel ready and able to take over manual control. Now, the regulators are updating their rules to allow for fully driverless test, which is a key step along the route towards actually deploying self-driving vehicles in a commercial capacity.

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