Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–2352.01. Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program.

(a) There is established an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program, which shall be administered by the Department. The Department shall set the term for which an AV testing permit lasts before requiring renewal and the fees associated with testing an autonomous vehicle in the District.

(b) The Department shall create an application process for an AV testing entity to obtain an AV testing permit issued by the Department.

(c) As part of its application, an AV testing entity shall submit the following to the Department for approval:

(1) The name, address, and principal point-of-contact for the AV testing entity applying for the AV testing permit;

(2) Vehicle information for each associated autonomous vehicle used for testing, such as tag number and state of issuance, vehicle information number, vehicle make, model, and year, and proof of current vehicle registration;

(3) A safety and risk mitigation assessment that addresses functional safety and cybersecurity risks, in a form to be determined by the Department, or the AV testing entity's most recent Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment, as described by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;

(4) A description of the operational design domain in which an AV testing entity intends to test, including the circumstances under which testing would occur with a remote operator, if applicable; and

(5) A certification that the AV testing entity and its associated autonomous vehicles comply with the following requirements:

(A) When required by federal law, each associated autonomous vehicle shall bear the required manufacturer's certification label indicating that at the time of the vehicle's manufacture it was certified to comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including reference to an applicable exemption granted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if any;

(B) Each associated autonomous vehicle shall be capable of being operated in compliance with the applicable traffic and motor vehicle laws of the District, regardless of whether the vehicle is under autonomous operation;

(C) Each associated autonomous vehicle shall be tested with either a test operator physically present in the vehicle or with a remote operator;

(D) Each associated autonomous vehicle shall:

(i) When a test operator is physically present in the autonomous vehicle, safely alert the test operator of a performance-relevant failure that renders the autonomous driving system unable to safely perform the entire dynamic driving task or when the vehicle operates outside of its operational design domain, and when the alert is given, achieve a minimal risk condition or require the test operator to take control of the vehicle; or

(ii) When a test operator is not physically present in the autonomous vehicle, achieve a minimal risk condition in the event of a performance-relevant failure that renders the autonomous driving system unable to safely perform the entire dynamic driving task or if the vehicle operates outside of its operational design domain;

(E) Before testing an associated autonomous vehicle when a test operator is not physically present in the vehicle, the autonomous driving system shall have been previously tested with a test operator physically present in the vehicle within the operational design domain in which the AV testing entity has been permitted to operate, and the autonomous vehicle testing entity shall have reasonably determined that the vehicle is capable of safe operation within the parameters of the operational design domain without a test operator physically present;

(F) Each associated autonomous vehicle shall be equipped with a mechanism to capture and store sensor data from the relevant period preceding a crash between the vehicle and another vehicle, object, or person while the vehicle is under autonomous operation;

(G) The AV testing entity shall create a test operator training program that meets minimum requirements as set by the Department or is reasonably equivalent thereto and each test operator or remote operator shall successfully complete the training program before testing with an associated autonomous vehicle in the District; and

(H) The AV testing entity shall have the ability to respond to a judgment for damages, personal injury, death, or property damage from the operation of an autonomous vehicle on public roadways in the amount of $5 million in the form of:

(i) An instrument of insurance issued by an insurer authorized to issue insurance in the District;

(ii) A surety bond issued by an admitted surety insurer or an eligible surplus lines insurer, and not a deposit in lieu of bond; or

(iii) A certificate of self-insurance issued or approved by the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.

(d) A person shall not test or operate an autonomous vehicle on a District roadway without an AV testing permit, unless the preexisting testing period applies pursuant to section 3e.

(e) The AV testing entity associated with an autonomous vehicle shall be considered the operator of the vehicle while the vehicle is under autonomous operation.

(f)(1) After approval of an AV testing permit, an AV testing entity shall receive approval from the Department for the following changes to its approved application:

(A) The scope of its operational design domain;

(B) Its test locations;

(C) A change from testing with an in-vehicle test operator to testing with no test operator physically present in the vehicle;

(D) A change to the make or type of vehicle in which testing occurs; and

(E) An increase in the number of vehicles tested that is 50% more than the amount approved for on its most recent permit application, unless a greater percentage for subsequent approvals is stipulated to by the Department through rulemaking.

(2) The Department shall review any proposed changes for which approval is required pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection and shall approve or deny the changes no later than 10 business days after the proposed changes are received.

(g) An AV testing entity shall submit an associated autonomous vehicle inventory list to the Department on a quarterly basis that includes the relevant registration information, such as vehicle tag number and state of issuance, vehicle information number, vehicle make, model, and year, and proof of current vehicle registration.

(h) Any records provided to the Department by an applicant or AV testing entity under this act shall not be disclosed to a third party by the Department, including through a request submitted pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act of 1976, effective March 29, 1977 (D.C. Law 1-96; D.C. Official Code § 2-531 et seq.), except as required to:

(1) Comply with a subpoena or active law enforcement or other government investigation; or

(2) Comply with section 3c(b).