The state of California has granted permission for Faraday Future to begin testing prototype self driving electric vehicles on its roads. The company has not disclosed details of its self driving program, but does say it plans to begin building and selling electric vehicles in the US next year. A spokesperson from the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirms that Faraday was approved to test self driving vehicles on public roads on June 17.
Faraday has been testing prototype vehicles for the past year at private facilities, according to a source familiar with the company’s program. Jan Becker, senior director of automated driving at Faraday’s San Jose tech center told Reuters earlier this month that the company’s electric vehicles would have “state of the art driver assistance systems.” Those systems are the building blocks on which true Level 4 autonomous driving cars will be based.
Becker declined to give specifics on the company’s plans to add self driving capability, but did acknowledge that automatic over the air wireless software updates are planned. At the present time, only Tesla Motors offers over the air updates for its cars, a feature that many expect will become commonplace in the future as cars become more reliant on computers for routine operations.
California has now approved at least 13 companies to test autonomous vehicles on its public roads, including Cruise Automation, which was acquired earlier this year by General Motors Co. Other approved testers include Google, Tesla, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Nissan, BMW, Honda, and Ford. Auto suppliers Bosch and Delphi Automotive are also approved.
Faraday Future has also applied for permission from the state of Michigan to test self driving cars on its roads. According to the Detroit News, the company has applied to the Michigan Department of Transportation for three manufacturer license plates to test self driving vehicles within the state. To receive permission, a company must first apply for a manufacturer plate, show proof of state insurance, and pay a registration fee.
It is believed that Faraday is currently using heavily disguised mules to test prototypes of its vehicles throughout the US. Until now, no one has seen an actual prototype of the car the company plans to offer for sale first, although the company has hinted it may have one to show the public by the end of this year.