Volkswagen’s Audi brand on Tuesday was the first automaker of three companies to get new permits issued by California for the testing of self-driving, or autonomous, cars on all the Golden State’s roadways.
Mercedes-Benz and Google also got permits on the day that California’s new laws governing the testing of automated vehicles take effect, according to the Associated Press.
“California roads are especially crucial to Audi Piloted driving testing because the state is home to the brand’s Electronics Research Lab,” said a statement from Audi. “ERL engineers are working on a wide range of automated driving issues, including human-machine interface prompts that indicate when the human or the vehicle” is driving.
California previously has permitted limited use of its roads for autonomous-car testing, such as by Google, in part because there was no specific law saying companies couldn’t do so.
The state legislature decided to regulate the emerging technology on the way to eventual consumer use of such vehicles and in 2012 passed the law that took effect on Tuesday.