SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Bonilla’s AB 1592, which was approved Tuesday afternoon on the Assembly Floor, now only requires the Governor’s signature to advance the testing and development of autonomous vehicle technologies in California. This bill, which authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to conduct a pilot project to test low-speed, multi-passenger, shared autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator, will help expand CCTA’s existing transportation technology testing program at GoMentum Station in the former United States Navy weapons station in Concord.
“While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and our State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) drafts the final guidelines and standards regulating the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles, in my district we are ready to safely and securely test these evolving technologies with the world’s largest, publicly owned transportation proving grounds,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord). “This bill will help enhance public trust prior to full deployment on public roadways and allow California to remain on the forefront of autonomous vehicle innovation and implementation.”
If signed, AB 1592 will be the first bill to allow a purely autonomous vehicle, without the presence of a driver, to operate on a public road. The shared autonomous vehicles, which will be tested at GoMentum Station this fall, operate at speeds under 25 miles per hour and will be used as first-and-last mile “people movers.” The long term goal is to utilize the vehicles to improve mobility by connecting riders to larger mass transit platforms such as regional buses and BART. AB 1592 is a finely crafted bill that carves out an exemption for CCTA and their GoMentum Station program, while not overstepping upcoming federal or state regulations, which will clearly define all standards for autonomous vehicles in California.
“Our state has always been a global leader in technology, environmental protection and transportation innovation,” continued Bonilla. “AB 1592 will move us one step closer towards implementing new, safe, efficient, low-cost, and flexible transportation modes, which will benefit communities across California.”
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.