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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.

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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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