At the stroke of midnight, as April Fools’ Day turns to April 2, California’s long awaited regulations for the testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles (“HAVs”) without human operators will go live. Though the regulations are over three years late, their implementation is no laughing matter when it comes to the future of HAVs in California and throughout the nation.

That’s because, with the arrival of April, “disengagement reports,” the widely recognized and poorly understood indicators of the technology’s progress made to the California DMV by HAV developers when their vehicles’ automated systems yield control to human operators, will be rendered meaningless. By the letter of California’s law, no “manual” driver means no disengagements to report.

The upside, of course, is that we will be spared the intermittent freakouts now routine when the California DMV issues its updates. The downside, sadly, is that the end of disengagement reports will offer critics an opportunity to call for new and imperfect state-based metrics by which to evaluate the progress of self-driving technologies.

Those calls should be resisted for a bevy of reasons ….. [read the rest of Ian’s piece here].


Image credit: chombosan


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