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california legislation > SB 1298

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Bill No: SB 1298
Author: Padilla (D)
Amended: 8/24/12
Vote: 21

AYES: DeSaulnier, Gaines, Kehoe, Lowenthal, Pavley, Rubio,
Simitian, Wyland


SENATE FLOOR : 37-0, 5/21/12
AYES: Alquist, Anderson, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Calderon,
Cannella, Corbett, De León, DeSaulnier, Dutton, Emmerson,
Evans, Fuller, Gaines, Hancock, Hernandez, Huff, Kehoe,
La Malfa, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod,
Padilla, Pavley, Price, Rubio, Simitian, Steinberg,
Strickland, Vargas, Walters, Wolk, Wright, Wyland, Yee
NO VOTE RECORDED: Correa, Harman, Runner

ASSEMBLY FLOOR : 51-25, 8/24/12 - See last page for vote

SUBJECT : Autonomous vehicles

SOURCE : Author

DIGEST : This bill establishes conditions for the
operation of autonomous vehicles upon public roadways.


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Assembly Amendments revise and recast the bill with a
similar intent as it left the Senate.

ANALYSIS : Existing law defines a vehicle as "a device by
which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or
drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively
by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or
tracks." Existing law provides numerous rules governing
the operation of vehicles on the state's public and private
roads. It does not, however, require that a person drive a

This bill:

1. Makes legislative findings and declarations regarding
new technologies that permit motor vehicles to operate
without the active control and continuous monitoring of
a human operator and the need to encourage the current
and future development, testing, and operation of
autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads.

2. Defines "autonomous technology" as a technology that
has the capability to drive a vehicle without the
active physical control or continuous monitoring by a
human operator.

3. Defines an "autonomous vehicle" as any vehicle
equipped with autonomous technology that has been
integrated into that vehicle.

4. Specifies that 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.

5. Defines an "operator" of an autonomous vehicle as the
person who is seated in the driver's seat, or if there


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is no person in the driver's seat, causes the
autonomous technology to engage.

6. Defines a "manufacturer" of autonomous technology as
the person who 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.

7. Allows an autonomous vehicle to be operated on public
roads for testing purposes by a driver who possesses
the proper license for the vehicle being operated if it
is being operated on roads in this state solely by
employees, contractors, or other persons designated by
the manufacturer of the autonomous technology. Under
this scenario, the driver must be seated in the
driver's seat, monitoring the safe operation of the
autonomous vehicle, and must be capable of taking over
immediate manual control of the autonomous vehicle in
the event of an autonomous technology failure or other
emergency. Prior to the start of testing in this state,
the person performing the testing must obtain an
instrument of insurance, surety bond, or proof of
self-insurance in the amount of $5 million dollars and
provide evidence of such in a form and manner required
by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

8. Prohibits an autonomous vehicle from being operated
on public roads until the manufacturer submits an
application to DMV that is approved by DMV.

9. Requires the application to include a certification
by the manufacturer that the technology satisfies all
of the following:

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


SB 1298

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
does either of the following:

Require the operator to take control of
the autonomous vehicle; or,

Allow the autonomous vehicle to come to a
complete stop if the operator does not or is
unable to take control of the autonomous vehicle.

A. The autonomous vehicle allows 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 alerts
the operator that the autonomous technology has been

B. 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;

C. 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;

D. 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 thirty seconds before a collision occurs
between the autonomous vehicle and another vehicle,


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object, or natural person while the vehicle is
operating in autonomous mode. The autonomous
technology sensor data must 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. Such data must be preserved for
three years after the date of the collision;

E. The manufacturer has tested the autonomous
technology on public roads and complies with any DMV
testing standards;

F. The manufacturer will maintain a surety bond,
or proof of self-insurance, in an amount of $5
million per DMV regulations.

1. Requires DMV, as soon as practicable but no later
than January 1, 2015, to adopt regulations setting
forth requirements for the submission of evidence of
required insurance, surety bond, or self-insurance and
approval of an application to operate an autonomous

2. Requires the regulations to include any testing,
equipment and performance standards that DMV concludes
are necessary to ensure the safe operation of
autonomous vehicles on public roads with or without the
presence of a driver.

3. Allows DMV, in developing these regulations, to
consult with the CHP, Institute of Transportation
Studies at the University of California, or any other
entity DMV identifies that has expertise in automotive
technology, automotive safety, and autonomous system

4. Allows DMV to establish additional requirements by
the adoption of regulations, which it determines, in
consultation with the CHP, 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


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registration of autonomous vehicles, new license
requirements for operators of autonomous vehicles, and
rules for the revocation, suspension, or denial of any
license or approval related to autonomous vehicles.

5. Requires DMV to 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.

6. Requires DMV to approve an application submitted by a
manufacturer if it finds that the applicant has
submitted all information and completed testing to
satisfy DMV that the autonomous vehicles are safe to
operate on public roads and that the applicant has
complied with all of its regulations.

7. Specifies, if the application seeks approval for
autonomous vehicles capable of operating without the
presence of a driver inside the vehicle, that 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 of the testing conducted by the
manufacturer, that such a requirement is necessary to
ensure the safe operation of those vehicles on public

8. Requires DMV to 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.

9. Allows DMV to establish additional requirements by
rule which it determines, in consultation with the CHP,
are necessary to ensure the safe operation of
autonomous vehicles on public roads.

10. Provides that this bill does not limit or expand the
existing authority to operate autonomous vehicles on


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public roads, until 120 days after DMV adopts those

11. Provides that federal regulations promulgated by the
National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will
supersede this bill's provisions when found to be in
conflict with them.

12. Requires the manufacturer of autonomous technology
installed on a vehicle to 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.

13. Allows DMV to promulgate regulations to assess a fee
upon manufacturers that submit applications to operate
autonomous vehicles on public roads in an amount
necessary to recover all the costs it reasonably


The author states that despite the many safety improvements
to the automobile since its invention, auto accidents
remain a leading cause of death. The Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) report that motor vehicle crashes are the
leading cause of death among people 5 through 34 years old.
In 2009, more than 2.3 million adult drivers and
passengers were treated in emergency rooms as the result of
being injured in motor vehicle crashes nationwide.

According to NHTSA, in 2010, a total of 32,885 people died
in the United States in car accidents. More than 2,700 of
these traffic fatalities were here in California. Car
accidents also result in a significant economic impact. A
2005 CDC report found that the lifetime cost of
crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and
passengers was $70 billion.

The author states that the vast majority of traffic
fatalities and injuries are due to human error, noting that
a 2006 U.S. Department of Transportation study found that
some form of driver error occurred in nearly 80% of car
accidents. The author asserts that through the use of


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computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle
is capable of analyzing the driving environment more
quickly and operating the vehicle more safely than a human

The author introduced this bill to enable California to
join other states in establishing safe testing and
operation standards for autonomous vehicles. Last year,
the Governor of Nevada signed a similar bill into law. In
addition, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Arizona are all
currently considering autonomous vehicle legislation. The
author and supporters note that as a global technology
leader, California is uniquely positioned to be the leader
in the deployment of autonomous technology and the
manufacture of autonomous vehicles. The author states that
this technology will not only save lives, it will create

FISCAL EFFECT : Appropriation: No Fiscal Com.: Yes
Local: No

SUPPORT : (Verified 5/17/12) (unable to reverify to time
of writing)

Automobile Club of Southern California
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers

ASSEMBLY FLOOR : 51-25, 8/24/12
AYES: Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, Block,
Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan,
Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, Cedillo,
Chesbro, Davis, Dickinson, Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong,
Fuentes, Furutani, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Hall,
Hayashi, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, Lara, Bonnie
Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Perea, V.
Manuel Pérez, Portantino, Skinner, Solorio, Swanson,
Torres, Wieckowski, Yamada, John A. Pérez
NOES: Achadjian, Bill Berryhill, Conway, Donnelly, Beth
Gaines, Garrick, Gorell, Grove, Hagman, Harkey, Jeffries,
Jones, Knight, Logue, Mansoor, Miller, Morrell, Nestande,


SB 1298

Nielsen, Norby, Olsen, Silva, Smyth, Valadao, Wagner
NO VOTE RECORDED: Cook, Halderman, Roger Hernández,

JJA:nm 8/28/12 Senate Floor Analyses


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