Starting March 2, companies in California are able to start applying for a permit to test self-driving cars on roads as early as April.
Sacramento is part of an initiative called ATOS, Autonomous Transportation Open Standards Lab, hoping to make the city a real world test bed for self driving cars.
The lab is a zone covering 100 miles of roads including Midtown, Downtown, and the Interstate 5 corridor to Sacramento International Airport.
"It's not just this fictional thing that may might happen and try to insure the future doesn't look like a robot where they take over and go from there," said Louis Stewart, city of Sacramento's chief innovation officer. "There's a lot in Sacramento we're working on. We're trying to figure how Sacramento and the region can leverage its policy position in Sacramento, because we're the capital and all the legislators are right here in town."
Sacramento calls this an opportunity to step up and change travel for elderly, how kids go to and from school, grocery deliveries to food deserts, and commutes.
"It's really about the future of mobility when you think about planning for a city," Stewart said. "What does downtown look like if you're trying to reduce traffic and you're getting rid of cars? Is it a city where there's bus, light rail, and autonomous cars and that's how you get more free flowing workability or is it how you get people to their doctors?"
The closest Sacramento roads have seen to autonomous cars is the Phantom Auto in a parking lot.
However companies can receive permits as early as April.
"Honestly for California the land of innovation we're a little bit late to give folks the right to test fully autonomous cars, but I think that's because we're also super thoughtful about it and want to make sure the public is safe," Stewart said.