Self-Driving Cars Could Hit Consumer Markets by 2020

California's Department of Motor Vehicles formally proposed rules this week that will govern how everyday people can get robocars.

Although you can't run out to buy a self-driving car just yet, automated vehicles could hit the market sooner than previously expected.

But there's still a few safety issues to work out. More than 42 companies in California have testing permits requiring a trained safety driver behind the wheel. But even with that safety driver, technology malfunctions have caused a few accidents.

Tesla Inc. is still perfecting the technology for full self-driving and won’t make it available to owners without regulatory approval.

According to Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Nissan and Volvo, it will be closer to 2020 before self-driving vehicles are available and possibly confined to ride-hailing fleets and other shared applications.

Also, unlike previous versions, the regulations announced Wednesday would follow the federal government by letting companies self-certify the technology is road ready.

The House passed a bill permitting automakers to seek an exemption to safety regulations, such as making cars without a steering wheel and allow the sale of hundreds of thousands of self-driving cars.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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