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Autonomous Vehicle Bill Heads To Governor

SACRAMENTO, CA, Aug. 31, 2016  – The California Assembly approved AB 1592 and now only requires Governor Brown’s signature to advance the testing and development of autonomous vehicle technologies in California. 

The bill, which authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to conduct a pilot project to test low-speed, multi-passenger, shared autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator, will expand CCTA’s existing transportation technology testing program at GoMentum Station in the former United States Navy weapons station in Concord.

“This bill will help enhance public trust prior to full deployment on public roadways and allow California to remain on the forefront of autonomous vehicle innovation and implementation,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), the bill’s sponsor.

If signed, AB 1592 will be the first bill to allow a purely autonomous vehicle, without the presence of a driver, to operate on a public road.  The shared autonomous vehicles, which will be tested at GoMentum Station this fall, operate at speeds under 25 miles per hour and will be used as first-and-last mile “people movers.” 

The long term goal is to utilize the vehicles to improve mobility by connecting riders to larger mass transit platforms such as regional buses and BART.  AB 1592 is a finely crafted bill that carves out an exemption for CCTA and their GoMentum Station program, while not overstepping upcoming federal or state regulations, which will clearly define all standards for autonomous vehicles in California.

IIABCal has been monitoring the bill, but has not taken a formal position on AB 1592, IIABCal Lobbyist Erin Norwood said.