Skip to content

Washington imposes harsh new rules for autonomous test cars – self-driving firms will have to fork out big bucks

Washington enacted new law requiring self-driving companies to have a minimum of $5 million in liability insurance to test in the state.

The Northwest region’s average minimum driving liability insurance for everyday drivers is $25,000.


Washington state road sign displayCredit: Getty
Self-driving cruise car driving through city streets


Self-driving cruise car driving through city streetsCredit: Getty

This difference equates to self-driving companies paying 200 times more in insurance premiums.

The state’s new insurance law will go into effect on January 1, 2023, Carscoops reports.

Self-driving (self-driving) companies in Washington State must self-certify before they can begin road testing.

This self-certification process ensures that self-driving vehicles comply with state requirements.

Crash-riddled self-driving startup Waymo starts attracting customers in LA
How many self-driving cars have crashed - from Waymo to Cruise

Google-owned Waymo, Amazon-owned Zoox, and NVIDIA are the only self-driving car companies to complete Washington state self-certification.

Zoox conducted tests in Seattle to evaluate how their vehicles performed on the area’s roads, which are wet and slippery.

Kai Wang, Director of Forecasting at Zoox, said:

“The Seattle challenges will allow us to hone our software stack and ultimately improve how our vehicles work,” reports Carscoops.

Self-driving car companies testing in Seattle also had to obtain permits from the city to show their vehicles comply with safety and liability regulations, starting November 14.

The permit requirement was introduced after Seattle locals expressed concerns about testing autonomous vehicles in the city, according to GeekWire.

Driverless vehicle companies seeking Seattle permits must notify the city before testing and prominently display the company’s logo on their vehicles.

The permit also requires these organizations to share information about their test drive programs, such as accident reports and proof of insurance.

Waymo's electric Jaguar SUV showcases autonomous driving


Waymo’s electric Jaguar SUV showcases autonomous drivingCredit: Reuters