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New York Governor Gives Green Light To Autonomous Vehicle Testing

The state only will approve manufacturers of autonomous vehicle technology or companies working with those manufacturers.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will allow testing of self-driving vehicles.

As part of a yearlong pilot program, the state is accepting applications from companies seeking to test or demonstrate autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Applicants must indicate when and where the vehicles will travel, and must promise to file reports on the results of their tests or demonstrations. They also must have a $5 million insurance policy covering their vehicles, and are required to reimburse the New York State Police for direct supervision of their demonstrations or tests.

“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to re-imagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” said Cuomo. “With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways.”

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The state only will approve manufacturers of autonomous vehicle technology or companies working with those manufacturers.

All vehicles will have to comply with federal safety standards and all applicable New York state inspection standards, and a person holding a valid driver license must be present in the driver’s seat at all times while these vehicles operated on public highways, according to Cuomo’s office.

“While we all are familiar with the idea that self-driving cars will one day likely be commonplace, the reality is that there is a long road ahead before we get there,” said Terri Egan, executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “We need to make sure these vehicles are safely tested on our roads, while providing opportunities for the public to become familiar with this technology. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.”

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