California Companies Slow to Seek Fully Driverless Car Approval

California's DMV is accepting applications for fully driverless car testing, but few companies have jumped in.

The state of California earlier this month opened the door to placing fully driverless vehicles – self-driving cars without a safety driver waiting in the wings – onto its public roadways for the first time.

But dozens of California-based companies already testing autonomous vehicle technology in the Golden State don't appear particularly eager to jump into the fully driverless fray just yet.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed to U.S. News this week that only two companies have applied for the new permit since it began accepting applications more than three weeks ago. Only one company managed to submit a complete application.

"I think the industry realizes, collectively, they have to be very cautious, because one bad actor can ruin it for everybody," says Brian Wiedenmeier, the executive director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The DMV announced earlier in the year that it would begin accepting applications on April 2, but the events preceding that launch weren't particularly good for the technology's public perception. At the end of February, an Uber-operated driverless car reportedly crashed into another vehicle in Pittsburgh. Just a few weeks later, a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber in Tempe, Arizona – prompting the company to temporarily suspend its autonomous vehicle testing in several cities across the country.

28. April 2018

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