Governor announces on-road AV testing can begin in New York State


New York State Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced the state is now accepting applications from companies interested in testing or demonstrating autonomous vehicles (AVs) on its public roads.

Cuomo does not want the state to be ‘left behind’ in the inevitable move toward self-driving transportation systems, so has included new legislation in the FY 2018 Budget that allows for the testing of autonomous technology through a year-long pilot program. In addition to the legislation, the new Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application process is another step forward in his aim of making New York the epicenter of cutting-edge technology and innovation. Applications for testing can be submitted by any manufacturers of ‘autonomous vehicle technology’, or companies creating this type of technology working in conjunction with manufacturers. The law permitting demonstrations or tests is set to expire April 1, 2018.

According to the new legislation, 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 it is operated on public highways. Each vehicle to be used must be listed in the application, and a US$5m insurance policy must be in place for any vehicles to be tested. Companies must also submit a report on demonstrations or tests, undertaken pursuant to a DMV permit, to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles no later than March 1, 2018.

“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” explained 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.”

The DMV’s executive deputy commissioner, Terri Egan, commented, “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. 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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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).