Google lobbied for the bill after the high-profile launch of its driverless hybrid car. Read the full story here.
Gov. Jerry Brown showed up in Mountain View Tuesday morning in a driverless Prius and signed a bill allowing Californians to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle and allow an automated robotic system do all the work.
The governor held the event at Google, and was met by Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, since the Silicon Valley search engine company lobbied for the bill after the high-profile launch of its automated hybrid car.
"This is the essence of Google," Brown told the audience. "Being able to imagine what isn't, and bring it into reality."
At the event, which was closed to the public, Brin said the cars would be good for the "blind," the "elderly" and those who are "too intoxicated."
On a more serious note, Brin said he believed the cars would be safer than humans driving, and then he just couldn't resist one more quip. "Self driving cars don't run red lights!"
The bill, which passed in August, requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to set up rules for driverless cars by 2015. Drivers will need to obtain special permits to sit behind the wheel of these robotic cars and be ready to take control if the vehicle crashes. The bill was authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles.
Some companies, such as BMW, have automated cars in the works, and for now, Google's robot car is a prototype. The company has a fleet of about a dozen of the science fiction-y vehicles - mostly Toyota Priuses equipped with self-driving technology - all without an accident.