The DMV's "statement of reasons" says this is in response to requests from companies that want to test and deploy vehicles that can deliver goods, including "groceries and takeout meals." Under existing regulations, says the statement, "some manufacturers interested in developing autonomous motortrucks have been forced to move their testing operations to other states."
The proposal would allow companies to test vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds, which is what counts as "light-duty" trucks. That includes vehicles that most bicycle riders and pedestrians would consider humongous, such as Ford F-150s or similar vehicles.
Note that the companies testing vehicles would not be allowed to charge for delivery, similar to the way they are not allowed to charge any passengers that might be riding in an autonomous vehicle. They would, however, be allowed to charge for the goods themselves.
So when your neighbors order take-out, their meals could arrive in an oversized pickup with no driver aboard.
Comments on the regulations will be accepted until May 27 at this email address. A public hearing will be held on May 30 in Sacramento to discuss the regulations and any comments that have been received, and to hear from the public.
Streetsblog California editor Melanie Curry has been thinking about transportation, and how to improve conditions for bicyclists, since her early days commuting by bike to UCLA long ago. She was Managing Editor at the East Bay Express, and edited Access Magazine for the University of California Transportation Center. She also earned her Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley.