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California, the largest car market in the United States, issued draft rules on Wednesday for self-driving cars, requiring a licensed driver inside the vehicle in case of failure.
The regulations by the Department of Motor Vehicles are intended to help nurture the state's nascent but fast-growing autonomous vehicle technology industry while allowing traditional car companies and new entrants like Alphabet (Google) and Apple to safely deploy their self-driving cars already in development.
The rules, which will face a period of public comment before being finalized, set out a path to take the industry from the current stage of vehicle testing to actually rolling them out to consumers.
Currently, 11 companies have permits to drive autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state, provided there is a licensed driver in the car, with Ford being the most-recent entrant.
The DMV also confirmed to NBC news that the driver would be responsible for any traffic violations, regardless of whether the vehicle is operating autonomously or not.
The proposed regulations require certification and third-party testing for carmakers, as well as regular reports back to the DMV for a period of three years. Data from that testing will be used to inform future regulation, the DMV said.
A Google representative told the Associated Press in a written statement that the company was "gravely disappointed" by what it saw, adding that "safety is our highest priority and primary motivator as we do this."
Manufacturers are also required to disclose the data they collect, other than from safety systems, and obtain approval to collect it. Concerns that self-driving cars could be a way for major data collectors like Google to collect information on consumers have fueled privacy concerns.