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California opens pathway for cars that lack steering wheel

Self-driving cars
(Photo courtesy MGN)

Self-driving cars (Photo courtesy MGN)

California regulators have changed course and opened a pathway for the public to get self-driving cars of the future that lack a steering wheel or pedals.

It’s not going to happen soon, because automakers and some tech companies are still testing prototypes.

But, in a shift, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles said in a revision of draft regulations released late Friday that the most advanced self-driving cars would no longer be required to have a licensed driver if federal officials deem them safe enough.

The redrafted regulations will be the subject of a public hearing Oct. 19 in Sacramento.

The DMV has been wrestling for several years with how to oversee the emerging technology. In December, it released an initial draft of regulations that required a licensed driver.