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AB-1141 Autonomous vehicles: freight vehicles.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/17/2017 09:00 PM
AB1141:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1141


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman

February 17, 2017


An act to add Section 38760 to amend Section 38750 of the Vehicle Code, relating to autonomous vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1141, as amended, Berman. Autonomous vehicles: freight vehicles.
Existing law authorizes the operation of an autonomous vehicle, as defined, on public roads for testing purposes by a driver who possesses the proper class of license for the type of vehicle being operated if specified requirements are satisfied. Existing law prohibits an autonomous vehicle from being operated on public roads until the manufacturer, as defined, submits an application to the Department of Motor Vehicles, as specified, and that application is approved. Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations no later than January 1, 2015, setting forth requirements for the submission of evidence of insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance, and for the submission and approval of an application to operate an autonomous vehicle. Under existing law, a violation of the Vehicle Code is an infraction, unless otherwise specified.
This bill would, notwithstanding the above provisions, authorize the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or a manufacturer approved by the department, to conduct testing of autonomous technology using freight vehicles on a highway. The bill would require a manufacturer to submit an application to the department and that application to be approved for purposes of testing on a highway and would require an approved manufacturer to comply with requirements that the department deems appropriate. The bill would require testing to be conducted on a route not less than 50 miles in distance and only on highways that have been designated by the department, which may identify highways appropriate for testing in consultation with the Department of Transportation. The bill would require an operator to be present in the vehicle during testing and for that operator to hold a valid commercial license of the class appropriate to operate the autonomous vehicle being tested. The bill would also specify that any hours spent as an operator of an autonomous freight vehicle are counted towards the maximum driving hours permitted in a work period. The bill would require, prior to the start of the testing of autonomous freight vehicles, the department or the manufacturer, or both, to certify that an autonomous freight vehicle used complies with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that the testing of an autonomous freight vehicle complies, or will comply, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidance, if any, as specified. would require the department, on or before September 30, 2018, to adopt regulations setting forth standards for the testing of autonomous vehicles used to transport freight and, in the development of those regulations, to consult with the Department of Transportation and the Department of the California Highway Patrol on related topics, including appropriate routes for autonomous vehicles used to transport freight and compliance with state and federal requirements for commercial drivers. The bill would require an autonomous vehicle used to transport freight to have an operator in the driver’s seat at all times while being operated and would subject the operator to specified requirements relating to the maximum hours a driver is permitted to drive in a work period. By establishing provisions of law, the violation of which would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.Section 38760 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
38760.

(a)Notwithstanding Section 38750, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or a manufacturer approved by the department, may conduct testing of autonomous technology using freight vehicles upon a highway.

(1)A manufacturer shall not conduct testing of autonomous freight vehicles upon a highway until the manufacturer submits an application to the department and that application is approved by the department.

(2)An approved manufacturer shall comply with requirements that the department deems appropriate.

(3)The department may coordinate with the Department of Transportation to identify highways appropriate for use in testing autonomous freight vehicles. A route designated for the testing of autonomous freight vehicles by the Department of the California Highway Patrol shall be no less than 50 miles in distance.

(4)An operator shall be present in the autonomous freight vehicle at all times during testing. The operator shall hold a valid California commercial driver’s license of the appropriate class for the vehicle being tested. The time spent using autonomous technology while operating or testing an autonomous freight vehicle shall be counted towards the maximum hours a driver is permitted to drive in a work period, as specified in Section 34501.2.

(5)Before any testing of an autonomous freight vehicle, the department or the manufacturer, or a combination of the two, shall certify both of the following:

(A)An autonomous freight vehicle used pursuant to this section complies with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

(B)The testing of an autonomous freight vehicle conducted pursuant to this section complies, or will comply, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidance, if any, on the safe testing, deployment, and operation of autonomous vehicles.

(b)For purposes of this section, the terms “manufacturer,” “autonomous vehicle,” and “autonomous technology” shall have the same meanings as provided in Section 38750.

SECTION 1.

 Section 38750 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

38750.
 (a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Autonomous technology” means technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.
(2) (A) “Autonomous vehicle” means any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle.
(B) An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, including, but not limited to, electronic blind spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam and queuing assist, or other similar systems that enhance safety or provide driver assistance, but are not capable, collectively or singularly, of driving the vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a human operator.
(3) “Department” means the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(4) An “operator” of an autonomous vehicle is the person who is seated in the driver’s seat, or, if there is no person in the driver’s seat, causes the autonomous technology to engage.
(5) A “manufacturer” of autonomous technology is the person as defined in Section 470 that originally manufactures a vehicle and equips autonomous technology on the originally completed vehicle or, in the case of a vehicle not originally equipped with autonomous technology by the vehicle manufacturer, the person that modifies the vehicle by installing autonomous technology to convert it to an autonomous vehicle after the vehicle was originally manufactured.
(b) An autonomous vehicle may be operated on public roads for testing purposes by a driver who possesses the proper class of license for the type of vehicle being operated if all of the following requirements are met:
(1) The autonomous vehicle is being operated on roads in this state solely by employees, contractors, or other persons designated by the manufacturer of the autonomous technology.
(2) The driver shall be seated in the driver’s seat, monitoring the safe operation of the autonomous vehicle, and capable of taking over immediate manual control of the autonomous vehicle in the event of an autonomous technology failure or other emergency.
(3) Prior to the start of testing in this state, the manufacturer performing the testing shall obtain an instrument of insurance, surety bond, or proof of self-insurance in the amount of five million dollars ($5,000,000), and shall provide evidence of the insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance to the department in the form and manner required by the department pursuant to the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (d).
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), an autonomous vehicle shall not be operated on public roads until the manufacturer submits an application to the department, and that application is approved by the department pursuant to the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (d). The application shall contain, at a minimum, all of the following certifications:
(1) A certification by the manufacturer that the autonomous technology satisfies all of the following requirements:
(A) The autonomous vehicle has a mechanism to engage and disengage the autonomous technology that is easily accessible to the operator.
(B) The autonomous vehicle has a visual indicator inside the cabin to indicate when the autonomous technology is engaged.
(C) The autonomous vehicle has a system to safely alert the operator if an autonomous technology failure is detected while the autonomous technology is engaged, and when an alert is given, the system shall do either of the following:
(i) Require the operator to take control of the autonomous vehicle.
(ii) If the operator does not or is unable to take control of the autonomous vehicle, the autonomous vehicle shall be capable of coming to a complete stop.
(D) The autonomous vehicle shall allow the operator to take control in multiple manners, including, without limitation, through the use of the brake, the accelerator pedal, or the steering wheel, and it shall alert the operator that the autonomous technology has been disengaged.
(E) The autonomous vehicle’s autonomous technology meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for the vehicle’s model year and all other applicable safety standards and performance requirements set forth in state and federal law and the regulations promulgated pursuant to those laws.
(F) The autonomous technology does not make inoperative any Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for the vehicle’s model year and all other applicable safety standards and performance requirements set forth in state and federal law and the regulations promulgated pursuant to those laws.
(G) The autonomous vehicle has a separate mechanism, in addition to, and separate from, any other mechanism required by law, to capture and store the autonomous technology sensor data for at least 30 seconds before a collision occurs between the autonomous vehicle and another vehicle, object, or natural person while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode. The autonomous technology sensor data shall be captured and stored in a read-only format by the mechanism so that the data is retained until extracted from the mechanism by an external device capable of downloading and storing the data. The data shall be preserved for three years after the date of the collision.
(2) A certification that the manufacturer has tested the autonomous technology on public roads and has complied with the testing standards, if any, established by the department pursuant to subdivision (d).
(3) A certification that the manufacturer will maintain, an instrument of insurance, a surety bond, or proof of self-insurance as specified in regulations adopted by the department pursuant to subdivision (d), in an amount of five million dollars ($5,000,000).
(d) (1)  As soon as practicable, but no later than January 1, 2015, the department shall adopt regulations setting forth requirements for the submission of evidence of insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance required by subdivision (b), and the submission and approval of an application to operate an autonomous vehicle pursuant to subdivision (c).
(2) The regulations shall include any testing, equipment, and performance standards, in addition to those established for purposes of subdivision (b), that the department concludes are necessary to ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads, with or without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle. In developing these regulations, the department may consult with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, or any other entity identified by the department that has expertise in automotive technology, automotive safety, and autonomous system design.
(3) The department may establish additional requirements by the adoption of regulations, which it determines, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, are necessary to ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads, including, but not limited to, regulations regarding the aggregate number of deployments of autonomous vehicles on public roads, special rules for the registration of autonomous vehicles, new license requirements for operators of autonomous vehicles, and rules for revocation, suspension, or denial of any license or any approval issued pursuant to this division.
(4) The department shall hold public hearings on the adoption of any regulation applicable to the operation of an autonomous vehicle without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle.
(5) On or before September 30, 2018, the department shall adopt regulations setting forth standards for the testing of autonomous vehicles used to transport freight. In developing regulations pursuant to this paragraph, the department shall consult with the Department of Transportation and the Department of the California Highway Patrol on related topics, including, but not limited to, appropriate routes for autonomous vehicles used to transport freight and compliance with state and federal requirements for commercial drivers. An autonomous vehicle used to transport freight shall have an operator in the driver’s seat at all times while being operated. The operator shall be subject to the maximum hours a driver is permitted to drive in a work period, as specified in Section 34501.2.
(e) (1) The department shall approve an application submitted by a manufacturer pursuant to subdivision (c) if it finds that the applicant has submitted all information and completed testing necessary to satisfy the department that the autonomous vehicles are safe to operate on public roads and the applicant has complied with all requirements specified in the regulations adopted by the department pursuant to subdivision (d).
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the application seeks approval for autonomous vehicles capable of operating without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle, the department may impose additional requirements it deems necessary to ensure the safe operation of those vehicles, and may require the presence of a driver in the driver’s seat of the vehicle if it determines, based on its review pursuant to paragraph (1), that such a requirement is necessary to ensure the safe operation of those vehicles on public roads. The department shall notify the Legislature of the receipt of an application from a manufacturer seeking approval to operate an autonomous vehicle capable of operating without the presence of a driver inside the vehicle and approval of the application. Approval of the application shall be effective no sooner than 180 days after the date the application is submitted.
(f) Nothing in this division shall limit or expand the existing authority to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads, until 120 days after the department adopts the regulations required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
(g) Federal regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall supersede the provisions of this division when found to be in conflict with any other state law or regulation.
(h) The manufacturer of the autonomous technology installed on a vehicle shall provide a written disclosure to the purchaser of an autonomous vehicle that describes what information is collected by the autonomous technology equipped on the vehicle. The department may promulgate regulations to assess a fee upon a manufacturer that submits an application pursuant to subdivision (c) to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads in an amount necessary to recover all costs reasonably incurred by the department.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.