German automakers Audi and Mercedes-Benz will join Google as the first three firms sanctioned to test driverless cars on California’s public roads.
New regulations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles require companies receive permits before they can deploy prototype vehicles on the road. Permit requirements include a manual takeover feature for the driver as well as insurance from the manufacturer of $5 million.
Google received 25 permits for their stable of retrofitted Lexus SUVs while Audi and Mercedes-Benz received 2 apiece.
Although this first batch of permits is limited to three companies, Chief Information Officer for the California DMV Bernard Soriano confirmed to the Guardian that other automakers and manufacturers are in the process of applying for permission to test drive their own prototypes.