State will allow testing for self-driving cars

Greg Brown
FILE - This Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 file photo provided by Virginia Tech shows Virginia Tech Center for Technology Development Program Administration Specialist Greg Brown behind the wheel of a driverless car during a test ride showing the alert system handing over automation to the driver, while traveling street in Blacksburg, Va. New cars that can steer and brake themselves may lull drivers into a false sense of security. One way to keep people alert may be providing distractions that are now illegal, just one surprising finding from Stanford University research that studied the behavior of students in a self-driving car simulator.(Justin Fine/Virginia Tech via AP, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Self-driving cars could be the way of the not-so-distant future in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state Department of Motor Vehicles will begin accepting applications from companies interested in testing or demonstrating autonomous vehicles on public roads.

New legislation included in the state’s 2018 budget allows for testing of autonomous technology through a year-long pilot program.

Applications for testing can be submitted by manufacturers of autonomous vehicle technology or companies creating such technology while working with auto manufacturers.

All vehicles will have to comply with federal safety standards and all applicable New York State inspection standards. A person holding a valid New York State driver’s license must be present in the driver’s seat at all times while it’s operated on public highways. A $5 million insurance policy must be in place for any vehicles tested.

Applications are available here. 

Companies must submit a report on demonstrations or tests to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles no later than March 1. The law permitting demonstrations or tests expires April 1.

“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 State highways,” Cuomo said in a statement.

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