New York starts accepting applications for autonomous vehicle testing

Soon enough, self-driving car companies will have the opportunity to see how their cars deal with sitting in the occasionally snowy bumper-to-bumper New York traffic.

Today, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will begin accepting applications from companies interested in testing out their self-driving car vehicles on public roads.

“With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways,” said Gov. Cuomo in a statement.

New York joins California, Nevada and Arizona as the list of states where autonomous vehicles are allowed, in some capacity or another, to operate. The current testing period extends expires April 1, 2018 but can be extended, state budget permitting.

“While we all are familiar with the idea that self-driving cars will one day likely be commonplace, the reality is that there is a long road ahead before we get there,” DMV official Terri Egan said in a statement. “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. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.”

The announcement includes the standard fare, noting that a licensed driver will have to be present in the driver’s seat at all times while “on public highways” and that the car must comply with federal safety standards and NY state inspection rules. Additionally, each vehicle being tested must be listed in the application and covered by a $5 million insurance policy.