The State of California has granted 30 permits to automakers who are looking to test autonomous vehicles on the Golden State’s roads. The list includes “classic” automakers like BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, but also, tech giants from Silicon Valley – Google, Apple, NVIDIA and Uber. 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.
Several auto company suppliers are also testing in California. These include Delphi Automotive and Bosch.
The Google division of Alphabet Inc. leads the tech companies on the list. It has tested its own self-driving cars for millions of miles and is considered one of the industry’s leaders.
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. Earlier this year, BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced that a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous BMW vehicles will be on the roads by the second half of 2017, demonstrating the significant advancements made by the three companies towards fully autonomous driving.
To further propel the development of the autonomous platform, the partnership plans to release hardware samples and software updates in the upcoming years. The BMW iNEXT model, which will be introduced in 2021, will be the foundation for BMW Group’s autonomous driving strategy.
The entire list, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, includes:
- Volkswagen Group of America
- Delphi Automotive
- GM Cruise
- Faraday & Future
- Baidu USA
- Wheego Electric Cars
- Valeo North America
- NextEV USA
- AutoX Technologies
- Renovo Motors
- UATC (Uber)