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Robot cars banned from BC roadways starting this month

Fully self-driving cars are now banned in BC, but there weren’t any for sale yet, anyway.

Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act took effect this month, banning all vehicles with self-driving capabilities at level three or above. That would affect cars that can drive themselves without human input, and there are currently only a few for sale world-wide.

In the US, the only two vehicles available with the feature are models of the Mercedes S-class, and they are only allowed on the roads in California and Nevada.

The self-driving features in newer Tesla EVs are considered level two, which offer assistance while changing lanes and automatic braking, but still require a human driver at the wheel. Vehicles with those features are still allowed in BC.

The rating system was designed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and has five levels, with level one featuring minimal driver assist and level five featuring a full autopilot.

The province could relax the rules in the future once technology improves.

“Highly automated self-driving vehicles remain a new and emerging transportation technology,” says the Ministry of Transportation. “Further testing and policy development are necessary before Level 3 or higher automated vehicles are considered safe and can begin to be allowed for public use on B.C. roads.”

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