(a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions
(1) "Autonomous technology" means technology that has the
capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or
monitoring by a human operator.
(2) (A) "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with
autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle.
(B) An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is
equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, including, but
not limited to, electronic blind spot assistance, automated
emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane
keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam and queuing assist,
or other similar systems that enhance safety or provide driver
assistance, but are not capable, collectively or singularly, of
driving the vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a
(3) "Department" means the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(4) An "operator" of an autonomous vehicle is the person who is
seated in the driver's seat, or, if there is no person in the driver'
s seat, causes the autonomous technology to engage.
(5) A "manufacturer" of autonomous technology is the person as
defined in Section 470 that originally manufactures a vehicle and
equips autonomous technology on the originally completed vehicle or,
in the case of a vehicle not originally equipped with autonomous
technology by the vehicle manufacturer, the person that modifies the
vehicle by installing autonomous technology to convert it to an
autonomous vehicle after the vehicle was originally manufactured.
(b) An autonomous vehicle may be operated on public roads for
testing purposes by a driver who possesses the proper class of
license for the type of vehicle being operated if all of the
following requirements are met:
(1) The autonomous vehicle is being operated on roads in this
state solely by employees, contractors, or other persons designated
by the manufacturer of the autonomous technology.
(2) The driver shall be seated in the driver's seat, monitoring
the safe operation of the autonomous vehicle, and capable of taking
over immediate manual control of the autonomous vehicle in the event
of an autonomous technology failure or other emergency.
(3) Prior to the start of testing in this state, the manufacturer
performing the testing shall obtain an instrument of insurance,
surety bond, or proof of self-insurance in the amount of five million
dollars ($5,000,000), and shall provide evidence of the insurance,
surety bond, or self-insurance to the department in the form and
manner required by the department pursuant to the regulations adopted
pursuant to subdivision (d).
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), an autonomous vehicle
shall not be operated on public roads until the manufacturer submits
an application to the department, and that application is approved by
the department pursuant to the regulations adopted pursuant to
subdivision (d). The application shall contain, at a minimum, all of
the following certifications:
(1) A certification by the manufacturer that the autonomous
technology satisfies all of the following requirements:
(A) The autonomous vehicle has a mechanism to engage and disengage
the autonomous technology that is easily accessible to the operator.
(B) The autonomous vehicle has a visual indicator inside the cabin
to indicate when the autonomous technology is engaged.
(C) The autonomous vehicle has a system to safely alert the
operator if an autonomous technology failure is detected while the
autonomous technology is engaged, and when an alert is given, the
system shall do either of the following:
(i) Require the operator to take control of the autonomous
(ii) If the operator does not or is unable to take control of the
autonomous vehicle, the autonomous vehicle shall be capable of coming
to a complete stop.
(D) The autonomous vehicle shall allow the operator to take
control in multiple manners, including, without limitation, through
the use of the brake, the accelerator pedal, or the steering wheel,
and it shall alert the operator that the autonomous technology has
(E) The autonomous vehicle's autonomous technology meets Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for the vehicle's model year and all
other applicable safety standards and performance requirements set
forth in state and federal law and the regulations promulgated
pursuant to those laws.
(F) The autonomous technology does not make inoperative any
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for the vehicle's model year
and all other applicable safety standards and performance
requirements set forth in state and federal law and the regulations
promulgated pursuant to those laws.
(G) The autonomous vehicle has a separate mechanism, in addition
to, and separate from, any other mechanism required by law, to
capture and store the autonomous technology sensor data for at least
30 seconds before a collision occurs between the autonomous vehicle
and another vehicle, object, or natural person while the vehicle is
operating in autonomous mode. The autonomous technology sensor data
shall be captured and stored in a read-only format by the mechanism
so that the data is retained until extracted from the mechanism by an
external device capable of downloading and storing the data. The
data shall be preserved for three years after the date of the
(2) A certification that the manufacturer has tested the
autonomous technology on public roads and has complied with the
testing standards, if any, established by the department pursuant to
(3) A certification that the manufacturer will maintain, an
instrument of insurance, a surety bond, or proof of self-insurance as
specified in regulations adopted by the department pursuant to
subdivision (d), in an amount of five million dollars ($5,000,000).
(d) (1) As soon as practicable, but no later than January 1,
2015, the department shall adopt regulations setting forth
requirements for the submission of evidence of insurance, surety
bond, or self-insurance required by subdivision (b), and the
submission and approval of an application to operate an autonomous
vehicle pursuant to subdivision (c).
(2) The regulations shall include any testing, equipment, and
performance standards, in addition to those established for purposes
of subdivision (b), that the department concludes are necessary to
ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads,
with or without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle. In
developing these regulations, the department may consult with the
Department of the California Highway Patrol, the Institute of
Transportation Studies at the University of California, or any other
entity identified by the department that has expertise in automotive
technology, automotive safety, and autonomous system design.
(3) The department may establish additional requirements by the
adoption of regulations, which it determines, in consultation with
the Department of the California Highway Patrol, are necessary to
ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads,
including, but not limited to, regulations regarding the aggregate
number of deployments of autonomous vehicles on public roads, special
rules for the registration of autonomous vehicles, new license
requirements for operators of autonomous vehicles, and rules for
revocation, suspension, or denial of any license or any approval
issued pursuant to this division.
(4) The department shall hold public hearings on the adoption of
any regulation applicable to the operation of an autonomous vehicle
without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle.
(e) (1) The department shall approve an application submitted by a
manufacturer pursuant to subdivision (c) if it finds that the
applicant has submitted all information and completed testing
necessary to satisfy the department that the autonomous vehicles are
safe to operate on public roads and the applicant has complied with
all requirements specified in the regulations adopted by the
department pursuant to subdivision (d).
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the application seeks
approval for autonomous vehicles capable of operating without the
presence of a driver inside the vehicle, the department may impose
additional requirements it deems necessary to ensure the safe
operation of those vehicles, and may require the presence of a driver
in the driver's seat of the vehicle if it determines, based on its
review pursuant to paragraph (1), that such a requirement is
necessary to ensure the safe operation of those vehicles on public
roads. The department shall notify the Legislature of the receipt of
an application from a manufacturer seeking approval to operate an
autonomous vehicle capable of operating without the presence of a
driver inside the vehicle and approval of the application. Approval
of the application shall be effective no sooner than 180 days after
the date the application is submitted.
(f) Nothing in this division shall limit or expand the existing
authority to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads, until 120
days after the department adopts the regulations required by
paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
(g) Federal regulations promulgated by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration shall supersede the provisions of this
division when found to be in conflict with any other state law or
(h) The manufacturer of the autonomous technology installed on a
vehicle shall provide a written disclosure to the purchaser of an
autonomous vehicle that describes what information is collected by
the autonomous technology equipped on the vehicle. The department may
promulgate regulations to assess a fee upon a manufacturer that
submits an application pursuant to subdivision (c) to operate
autonomous vehicles on public roads in an amount necessary to recover
all costs reasonably incurred by the department.