New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state is now accepting applications from companies interested in testing or demonstrating autonomous vehicles on its roads.
New laws included in the state’s 2018 budget will allow for testing autonomous technology during a year-long pilot programme.
“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo.
“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 roadways.”
Companies making autonomous vehicle technology, or those working with manufacturers to develop this technology, can now apply for a permit from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Any vehicle involved must comply with federal safety standards, as well as all applicable New York State inspection standards.
Companies carrying out autonomous vehicle tests will need to have a human driver present at all times, and a $5 million insurance policy in place for each vehicle tested.
Participating firms will also be required to submit a report on any demonstrations or tests to the state’s Commissioner of Motor Vehicles by the beginning of March 2018.
“While we all are familiar with the idea that self-driving cars will one day likely be commonplace, the reality is that there is a long road ahead before we get there,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan.
“We need to make sure these vehicles are safely tested on our roads, while providing opportunities for the public to become familiar with this technology. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.”
The State Police will work with the DMV to ensure autonomous vehicle testing is carried out safely on New York’s roads. New York State Police Superintendent George Beach II said: “The State Police applaud any new and advanced technology that will improve safety on our roadways and reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.
“Any new technology, no matter how innovative, needs to be tested and evaluated appropriately and the State Police will perform its due diligence to oversee this process and ensure its effectiveness.”