New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The State of New York is now accepting applications from companies wanting to test or demonstrate autonomous vehicles on public roads, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The state’s 2018 budget allows for testing self-driving technology through a year-long pilot program.

“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a released statement. “With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways.”

A licensed human driver must occupy the driver’s seat whenever the self-driving test vehicle is operating on a public highway. Each autonomous vehicle must be listed in the application, and a $5 million insurance policy must be in place for each vehicle. Testing requirements and the application are available here.

Terri Egan, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles executive deputy commissioner, stressed the crucial role that such testing will play before fully autonomous vehicles come to market.

While we all are familiar with the idea that self-driving cars will one day likely be commonplace, the reality is that there is a long road ahead before we get there,” she said. “We need to make sure these vehicles are safely tested on our roads, while providing opportunities for the public to become familiar with this technology. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.”