Audi of America will be the first company to test self-driving cars in Albany and New York state.
Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, has been working on self-driving cars for the last 10 years. This year, Audi began working with the technology company Nvidia on the software for its self-driving cars. They expect to have a self-driving car on the road by 2020.
In Albany, Audi will be testing what is considered a “Level 3” car by the Society of Automotive Engineers. That allows for hands-free driving at highway speeds, but requires a person to take over driving at times. Two engineers will be in the car to monitor the system, with one in the front seat and one in the back seat.
Most major car companies are testing self-driving cars right now, including Tesla, GM and Ford, which is investing more than $1 billion in self-driving cars. The biggest technology companies are doing the same, including Apple, Uber, Google and Lyft.
Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh last year. That relationship has become strained after Uber has failed to fulfill some of its promises to the city, according to The New York Times.
Car companies were not previously allowed to operate self-driving cars in Albany, or the rest of New York state. A 1971 law prevented self-driving cars from testing in the state because it required drivers to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel while the car is moving.
The state legislature passed a new law this spring that gives companies one year to test self-driving cars on state roads with permission. It requires companies to insure their vehicles for $5 million and pay for state police escorts, among other requirements.