Autonomous driving is coming. There is no doubt about it, nor anyone really denies it. From BMW and Tesla, to now Google and Apple, every major automaker and tech company are thinking about the future of mobility and how that translates into actual products. Google has been one of the few companies who have publicly announced and revealed their plans to build a self-driving car, but soon we might hear from others as well. According to DMV’s website in California, there are currently 10 companies — including Google, Tesla, and BMW – that have been issued Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits.
The autonomous vehicles testing regulations were adopted by the State of California on May 19, 2014 and became effective on September 16, 2014 and every company has to get a permit before being able to drive their cars on public roads. To acquire a testing permit for public streets, the DMV requires companies to have well-trained test drivers with a clean driving record in the vehicle at all times.
As of September 4, 2015, DMV has issued Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits to the following entities:
- Volkswagen Group of America
- Mercedes Benz
- Delphi Automotive
- Tesla Motors
- Cruise Automation
The list includes a series of automakers, but also other interesting companies like Bosch and Delphi Automotive. As we move into 2016, we expect the list to expand with the likes of other premium carmakes and newcomers, like Faraday Future.
BMW has been testing autonomous cars for years now, but all the testing was done on private race tracks or BMW-owned properties. Just a few years back we had the chance to ride in a 3 Series self-driving car which took us, at high speeds, around Laguna Seca race track. While a self-driving BMW might be years ahead, individual autonomous driving functions are already being implemented in new BMWs and in upcoming ones as well.