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EghtesadOnline: California would allow for the testing of light-duty autonomous trucks on public roads under a proposed rule announced Friday.

The state’s department of motor vehicles announced the proposal on Friday, which outlines a permitting process for companies wishing to test or deploy driverless trucks for testing, the Verge reported.

The rule would only apply to autonomous vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds. That means only class 1 and 2 trucks — which include minivans, pickup trucks, utility vans, and step vans — could receive permits for testing under the proposed rule.

All vehicles in Class 3 through 8 — which include walk-in delivery trucks, semi trucks, buses, and heavy-duty construction vehicles — would not be allowed under this permitting system, Financial Tribune reported.

California is a hotbed for autonomous vehicle testing, so changes made to the state’s rules governing these tests are followed closely by companies, like General Motors, Alphabet’s Waymo, and Uber, that are developing fleets of self-driving cars for public use.

There are currently 62 companies permitted and 678 autonomous vehicles that are licensed with the DMV, officials say. Waymo is the only company with a permit to test fully driverless vehicles on public roads.

This proposed rule appears to be a small step toward eventually allowing Class 8, heavy-duty semi trucks with autonomous equipment to be tested on public roads.

Waymo has been testing its self-driving tractor trailers in Atlanta. Other companies, like Daimler and TuSimple, are also working toward a fully driverless truck.

 

California Autonomous Delivery Trucks public roads