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Automakers, Google agree: California's new autonomy rules are bunk

There's no better way to bring competitors together than by releasing a set of overbearing regulations.

There are some good regulations in there, like the one that allows vehicles to operate without a driver or a steering wheel.


There's no denying that we need a solid regulatory framework for self-driving cars. But not every forthcoming regulation is potentially good. In fact, the latest round of rules coming out of California is questionable enough that automakers are banding together and saying no.

Google, along with a handful of automakers, banded together Wednesday to question California's latest bunch of potential self-driving-car regulations, Reuters reports. The concern is that these regulations are too heavy-handed and would inevitably delay autonomous vehicles and whatever benefits they bring along for the ride.

The regulations involve adding a new type of data recorder, placing a 12-month delay between testing and deploying autonomous vehicles and requiring companies to supply data to police within 24 hours of the request, regardless of whether or not a warrant or subpoena exists.

In regards to automotive regulations, California's in an interesting position. What it does is usually replicated in other states. In some ways, it's stricter the rest of the country -- tighter emissions regulations, requiring zero-emissions vehicles from major automakers -- but in other ways, it's not. For example, the possible new regulations also permit autonomous vehicles to operate without drivers or steering wheels, an issue other states have not yet approached.

Thankfully, this Wild West atmosphere surrounding self-driving cars will soon come to a close. The federal government finally issued a regulatory framework that it hopes will get states to more closely align the patchwork of policies that currently exist. States will still get most of the say, but at least there will be something to work off.

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