If the state’s proposed annual budget ends up being approved, then self-driving vehicle testing in New York State will reportedly become legal. To be more specific here, the new proposed budget is a measure that would temporarily pause the state’s law that drivers must always have at least one hand on the wheel — a law which has been in place for 45 years or so, and that has prevented testing in the state to date.
If this happens, then self-driving vehicle developers will have another difficult and unique driving environment to test their tech in, adding to San Francisco, etc.
There’s more in the small print, though, as noted by Engadget. “There are a few caveats. In addition to keeping a licensed driver in every autonomous car when it’s on the road, all testing must be done under the direct supervision of the New York State Police and NY’s Department of Motor Vehicles. After the measure expires in April 2018, both agencies will release a joint report in June 2018 analyzing self-driving tech’s effect on safety, traffic and emergency services. We’ll have to wait for the post-mortem to see if all this testing validates the fears of the New York driving groups opposing it — one of which wants it banned in the state for 50 years.”
So, to rephrase that, that means that there would be only a few months of testing — probably enough to tell if self-driving tech is competent enough to deal with New York City. Or, probably more accurately, whose self-driving tech is competent enough to deal with New York City.
It would stand to reason that if a company’s self-driving vehicles can handle San Francisco, they can handle New York City, but who knows?