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New York begins taking applications for self-driving car tests

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Add New York to the list of states where autonomous cars will soon be navigating the streets. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that NY is now accepting applications from companies that want to test their self-driving vehicles on public roads.

New York’s experiment with autonomous cars will be rather short in duration; the law that permits these tests, approved as part of the state’s budget last month, will expire on April 1st, 2018. These initial tests could be a bridge to expanded, lengthier testing later on, but New York officials are sounding a cautious tone to start. “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,” DMV executive deputy commissioner Terri Egan said.

Any automakers that perform tests must provide the state with a report of their findings and results no later than March. As in other states, a driver must be behind the wheel at all times during self-driving car drives “on public highways” and vehicles must “comply with federal safety standards and all applicable New York State inspection standards.” Routes cannot include school zones or construction zones, and companies must reimburse state police for supervising tests.

Automakers need to list specific vehicles being used for the tests in their application, and each must be covered by a $5 million insurance policy. The New York DMV will oversee self-driving tests and plans to release its own summary report by next June.