California's Department of Motor Vehicles issued 29 permits to Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Google to begin testing their autonomous vehicles on the state's public thoroughfares on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
The cars are capable of sensing the environment around them and can self-correct as needed. It has been reported that the vehicles have a quicker response time to potential accidents, and can smoothly adjust to change, rather than jerking the wheel or slamming on brakes.
Companies were able to test self-driving vehicles in California for the past several years, but only on private property. With the state's new safety regulations that took effect last week, self-driving cars can move off of the practice track and onto the highway.
Any company that applies for autonomous vehicle testing permits in California must follow the new procedures that require manufacturers to "register their vehicles, insure or bond them for $5 million each, complete testing programs, use qualified drivers...and report any accidents...to the DMV."
It's expected that other states will soon follow suit while other companies like Toyota, Ford, and General Motors put the finishing touches on their intelligent car developments.
In a study conducted by HIS Automotive, as many as 230,000 semi- and fully autonomous vehicles are projected to be available around the world by 2025. This number could increase to 11.8 million vehicles in 10 years.