Photo of Google's self-driving Prius courtesy of Google.

Photo of Google's self-driving Prius courtesy of Google.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that the state Office of Administrative Law has adopted regulations governing how manufacturers can test autonomous vehicles on California roads. The new rules take effect Sept. 16.

These rules address such subjects as insurance, registration and manufacturer reporting requirements. 

The regulations only address requirements for manufacturer testing. The California DMV is still in the process of developing rules governing public operation of self-driving cars. The target date for adoption of public rules is Jan. 1, 2015. 

Under the new regulations, vehicle manufacturers must obtain a testing permit from the DMV and comply with permit requirements when testing autonomous vehicles on California roads.

DMV requirements for manufacturer testing include:

  • Test vehicles must be registered with the DMV.
  • Autonomous vehicle testing must be conducted under controlled conditions.
  • Test drivers must complete a training program and obey all provisions of the state vehicle code.
  • Test drivers must sit in the driver seat and be capable of immediately taking control of the vehicle.
  • Manufacturers must report to the DMV any accident involving a test vehicle or any situation where the autonomous technology disengages during operation.
  • Manufacturers must maintain $5 million insurance or surety bond.

In developing the regulations, DMV held two public workshops and published the draft regulations for public comment in November 2013. To view CNN’s January report about this process – and learn what proposed requirements drew manufacturer opposition at the time -- click on the photo or link below.

VIDEO: California to Regulate Self-Driving Cars

The DMV developed these testing regulations as mandated by Senate Bill 1298. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed that bill into law in September 2012.