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Profile: California Department of Motor Vehicles

PAVE: How is California preparing for AVs? What steps have you already taken?

We were one of the first states to develop regulations for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roadways. Since 2014, we have approved 72 companies to test their vehicles on California’s roadways. These companies are testing their vehicles with a safety driver onboard and report various data elements to regarding their testing. In addition, we approved 3 companies to test their autonomous vehicles without a human in the vehicle. We continue to develop a regulatory framework that fosters the growth of this technology while maintaining the safety of the motoring public.

PAVE: What type of AV tests have taken place in California?

Every company developing autonomous vehicle technology is testing in California. In addition to testing the technology, they are testing the various business models: ride sharing, goods delivery, etc.

PAVE: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your work with AVs?

I have been working in the AV space for over eight years and in that time I’ve seen a lot of changes. I’ve learned that introducing this new technology is extremely difficult. I am not just referring to the technical challenges, but everything else besides the technology. There are public acceptance challenges, legal challenges, infrastructure challenges, etc. And these challenges make it fun and exciting to be working in this space.

-Bernard Soriano, Deputy Director of California DMV

About the Public Sector Advisory Council: PAVE’s public sector partners help to guide PAVE on its mission of promoting fact-based public discussion about automated vehicles. Council members serve in a strictly advisory capacity, providing PAVE and its members with opinions and recommendations related to AV technology and its societal effects.