California gives way to the self-driving future with new legislation

NIO's EVE Concept Car

The last few decades shattered the myth that research and development of high technology is not possible without state support. But still in some cases the disruptive advances that are transforming whole industries can’t happen without disruptive legislation.

Last week California’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced that automakers and tech titans will be allowed to test their fully autonomous cars in the state. Many in the automotive industry thinks that although California is the go-to destination for development of self-driving technologies, the rules established right now are holding research back.

The new proposed regulations eliminates the need for human drivers in the car during the test drives. This means that the companies will no longer have to equip vehicles with steering wheels.

With the new set of rules, road testing of autonomous vehicles could begin by the end of the year, while the first real models could become available in the market in 2018.

According to the law professor at the University of South Carolina Brian Walker Smith California has taken a big step towards the development of a real self-driving car. While many define the new rules as industry-friendly, experts from the automotive sector are confident that they will make our experience on the road much safer than it is today.

Just for a week, the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets doubled its membership. The alliance, founded in 2016 by Lyft, Uber, Ford, Volvo and Waymo now includes not just car manufacturers, but also organizations, that have a real stake in the implementation of this new kind of mobility. Among them are Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Federation of the Blind, United Spinal Association, the R Street Institute and Mobility 4 All.

Yesterday, the Chinese manufacturer NIO showed its concept consumer autonomous vehicle – the NIO EVE. The company is backed by several venture capital firms from China and has hired experts from the biggest brands in the industry, such as Tesla, Lyft and Ford.

EVE is a look at NIO’s vision for the future of autonomous vehicles. The interior was the main focus for the designers. It offers various options for entertainment while riding and series of smart displays.

The company’s intention is to bring the car to the US market by 2020. It will have a range of more than 960 kilometers, and with just a ten minute charge you will be able to travel additional 320 kilometers.

To learn about the latest trends in the world of Mobility and Transportation, visit Webit.Festival Europe in Sofia on April 25th and 26th. During the Mobility Summit you can listen to top level lecturers like the Managing Partner at New Mobility Consulting Alexander Renz, the Oracle’s Digital Director for EMEA Luisella Giani, the Director of International Transportation and Government at Xerox Richard Harris, the Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation and Energy Tanja Kufner and the Director for Urban Development at Siemens Julie Alexander.

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