Driverless Cars: One Step Closer in California

A bill allowing self-driving cars on California roadways has passed the California State Senate and will now go before the Assembly next month. 

SB1298, sponsored by State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima,  would allow for "autonomous vehicles" to be tested and operated in California, according to the Los Angeles Times. Search giant Google has received a patent for driverless cars last year, and has lobbied heavily in Nevada for the use of the cars. 

The bill passed unanimously, likely because several of the state senators test drove Google's prototype. 
“Human error is the cause of almost every accident on the road today. If autonomous technology can reduce the number of accidents, then we also reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on California’s roads,” Padilla told the Times. “For me this is a matter of safety.”
More information on the bill:
  • Sets up safety and performance standards for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads.
  • Allows for the operation of autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads by a licensed driver.
  • Requires that an autonomous vehicle meets all applicable safety standards and performance requirements in state and federal law.
  • Allows the Highway Patrol, in consultation with the Department of Motor Vehicles, to recommend to the legislature additional requirements for the safe operation of such vehicles on California’s roads.
  • Last year, similar legislation was signed into law in Nevada.  In addition, Arizona, Hawaii, Florida and Oklahoma are all currently considering autonomous-vehicle legislation.
While the idea of a computer driving a car may make some uneasy, the technology is unlikely to go away. And Google is likely going to be the company creating that software that gets you safely home.
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