New York to allow self-driving car testing

New York to allow self-driving car testing
© Greg Nash

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Wednesday that the state would open applications for companies looking to test autonomous vehicles.

"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," Cuomo said.

Applicants who obtain permits will be allowed to test vehicles in New York until April 1, 2018.

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The state will require drivers to be present in the cars while they’re being tested. Autonomous vehicle testing permit holders must also give reports of their tests to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles by March 1, 2018.

New York’s DMV expressed that the state would be taking a cautious approach with the new technology.

“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,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan "This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation."

Companies such as Uber and Alphabet subsidiary Waymo have ramped up their driverless car testing efforts over the past year as the industry continues to advance the technology.

An Uber spokesperson said that they're currently reviewing New York's application. A representative from Waymo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on if they would apply to test in the state.

Lawmakers have considered moves this year which could help speed the development of self-driving cars, including easing certain safety standards.