We’re getting closer to getting our first driver license, and we’ve got an exclusive first look at what the process will entail.
As we reported yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for drivers to drive in vehicles equipped with “safety features” designed to help drivers avoid crashes, such as lane departure warning systems and rearview mirrors.
As the Trump administration prepares to make the transition to full-blown driverless driving, some are wondering how the process might look for drivers.
But not everyone is as confident as the president, and some states have taken a different approach to the transition.
New Jersey, which is home to the world’s largest auto dealer network, is preparing to begin issuing driver’s licenses to drivers in 2019, and Florida, home to a large auto industry, is considering issuing licenses in 2021.
A group of auto manufacturers have also been working on driverless car technologies, and it’s possible that those states could start issuing licenses as early as 2021.
“There’s no question that the driverless vehicle industry will take off in the coming years, and the states will play a huge role in that,” said Chris Morrogh, executive vice president of the Center for Automotive Research, a research and advocacy organization.
But even before any new driver’s licensing laws, automakers and other industry players will be exploring what a driverless system would look like for the industry.
That’s because the cars are already getting the benefits of advanced safety features, including lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, collision warning systems, and driver assistance systems, according to industry experts.
“As the car becomes more automated, the benefits will increase, but it’s a matter of time before we see some of those benefits become the norm,” said John D. Laughlin, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of The Driverless Car: What We Know, What We Don’t, and Why It Matters.
That may mean that some states will start issuing license plates, instead of plates that have a specific color.
“I would imagine that it would be a more complex process, but that’s the way it’s likely to be implemented,” said Dan Mavrovsky, a researcher at the Center on Automotive Science at MIT.
In the meantime, states are already preparing for the eventual transition to fully automated driving.
New York, where the state is planning to issue a driver’s licence in 2021, is also testing the safety of automated vehicles on city streets.
The state is also considering a driver training program that could help drivers prepare for the new system, which will be far less demanding on cars than on pedestrians.
“The focus will be on safety, not speed,” New York State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Andrea Cusick said in an email.
In other states, a handful of manufacturers are also testing autonomous driving systems.
The first test of such technology in the U.S. took place in 2019 in Washington, D.C., where the city installed autonomous-vehicle technology on the streets.
The city’s mayor is also hoping that the technology will help improve traffic safety.
“We need to make sure that when people go out, when they go to restaurants, when people want to go to their neighborhood, that it is safe and reliable,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told The Associated Press on Monday.
“And we are taking steps to ensure that.”
States could also start testing driverless vehicles on public roads, although they could do so later.
A driverless technology system will likely not be as advanced as the technology currently exists in a vehicle.
For instance, a driver can’t see what’s around them at any given moment, or they might not have the awareness to react to hazards, such at a crosswalk.
And the technology could also not handle situations such as accidents involving a car hitting a tree or pedestrian.
But there are other safety benefits to a system that can see other vehicles and people and can react in real time to threats.
For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working on an advanced automated vehicle that could be able to respond to an emergency.
The agency has said that such a system could save lives by making it easier for people to avoid accidents.
“If we have an emergency and we see that a car has hit a tree and a pedestrian is in the path of that car, we’re going to see a red light and a red flashing yellow light,” said Jeff Denton, a spokesman for NHTSA.
“It’s going to be a lot easier for us to determine if it’s safe to go around that,” he said.
And there could be a new generation of cars equipped with advanced safety systems, such that they don’t rely on sensors to keep track of what is happening on the road.
That could mean a new breed of electric cars, such one developed by Tesla Motors, that could offer more safety than today’s models.