Print 27 comment(s) - last by DT_Reader.. on May 23 at 4:57 PM

California Senate Bill 1298 passed in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 37-0 in the State Senate

The state of California passed a bill today that will allow for the preparation of standards for the use of autonomous vehicles.

California Senate Bill 1298 passed in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 37-0 in the State Senate today. The bill, which was created by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will set the stage for a set of performance and safety standards for the use of autonomous vehicles in the state.

These standards would be used by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to determine how autonomous vehicles would operate on California roads and highways. Autonomous vehicles will have to meet federal and state safety standards, and a licensed driver will have to be in the car at all times. Also, CHP and the Department of Motor Vehicles will offer recommendations for the use of these vehicles.

Google's autonomous Toyota Prius [Source: Motor Authority]

"Thousands of Californians tragically die in auto accidents each year," said Padilla. "The vast majority of these collisions are due to human error. Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle can analyze the driving environment more quickly and accurately and can operate the vehicle more safely."

Computer-controlled cars will not only help drivers avoid accidents, but will also prevent traffic congestion on highways in many cities. However, automaker Honda Motor Co. recently collaborated with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo to create a driving assistant that tracks the driving behavior of the vehicle and calculates whether this pace could cause a traffic jam.

Other U.S. states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and Oklahoma, are considering the testing of autonomous vehicles as well.

Source: The State of California

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By geddarkstorm on 5/22/2012 1:18:25 PM , Rating: 2

As long as their are manual overrides, I'm ok with this.

RE: Soon
By jimbojimbo on 5/22/2012 2:23:11 PM , Rating: 4
I'm OK with it as well as long as the requirement for the override is passing an intelligence test like say spelling "there". After all stupidity causes more accidents and traffic than anything else.

RE: Soon
By DT_Reader on 5/22/2012 4:27:46 PM , Rating: 3
If you're going to talk stupidity, how stupid is it to post a story about the California Senate and say the State passed the bill? It's only cleared the Senate, the House still has to pass it. It's barely half-way to the Governor's desk, and Moonbeam may veto it (or not, hard to tell how he'd vote on this. it's cool tech, so he may support it. it's robotic overlords, so he may oppose it).

RE: Soon
By geddarkstorm on 5/23/2012 1:32:00 PM , Rating: 1
You sound like a rather bitter person. Typing mistakes happen, such as your disregard for the proper use of commas hampering your grammar and readability. I'd rather take a test of intelligence by evaluating the usefulness of your logic and the validity of your arguments, rather than care about your typing or grammar.

So, with that said, what have you contributed? If cars could drive autonomously, would not everyone still have to go through the same driver's ed. classes as now, to be able to handle situations where manual control is necessary or wanted? Obviously that would be the case. And people of "lower" intelligence would be the least likely to use a car manually, as the convenience of autonomous driving would be particularly alluring. Heck, convenience is something that's universally alluring to everyone.

RE: Soon
By The Raven on 5/23/2012 2:10:25 PM , Rating: 1
You obviously don't know what an are-manual is nor understand why you would want it to override. Just goes to show what difference a hyphen can make to someone who is not in the know.

RE: Soon
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2012 3:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
This doesn't bring us any closer to automated driving systems. It's just more California idiots trying to set "standards" for the rest of the country, as usual.

I hope I never live to see the day where people cannot even be bothered to drive their own vehicles. That would be the height of our social downfall.

I know some of you have a utopian dream where we can remove the human element from everything and have no deaths, no accidents, and no feelings hurt if we just legislate our way to prosperity. Good luck.

RE: Soon
By Bad-Karma on 5/22/2012 4:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's just more California idiots trying to set "standards" for the rest of the country, as usual.

But didn't Lex Luthor use a nuke to attempt splitting the San Andreas Fault and send California into the depths of the Pacific?

Yeah, too bad that wouldn't work...

RE: Soon
By Solandri on 5/22/2012 5:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's just more California idiots trying to set "standards" for the rest of the country, as usual.

Actually, Caltrans has been researching autonomous vehicles for decades, as one solution to California's traffic problems. In many urban areas like Los Angeles, there's no place to build new freeways, and the existing ones have already been broadened as much as possible. So the only way to increase the capacity of a freeway (cars/hour passing a point) is to squeeze them closer together on the freeway.

That's a non-starter with manually driven vehicles because of safety. But with automated cars which can react nearly instantly to nearby cars speeding up or slowing down, it's a really possibility. Back in the 1990s they did a test run with some radar-guided computer-controlled cars following each other like a train. 65 mph in the carpool lane with about 10 feet separating them. That's 1/10th of a second separation, vs the recommended 2 seconds for a person driving.

RE: Soon
By SlyNine on 5/22/2012 6:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Which is fine in perfect conditions where nothing goes wrong. What happens when a truck looses a tire infront of these cars.

Or better yet, will these systems be able to recognize a truck is about to lose its tire, or drop something off of the bed.

Sorry human intuition still wins out, There are a unlimited number of scenarios. Computers are not our equals, yet.

RE: Soon
By Mint on 5/23/2012 3:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take one death due to computer naivety over ten deaths from human stupidity/recklessness any day of the week.

I'll also gladly pocket the savings when insurance companies compete with each other to get their hands on clients with the ultra low claim rates from autonomous operation.

Google's aiming for 1 million accident-free miles. I have no reason to doubt them.

RE: Soon
By DT_Reader on 5/23/2012 4:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
There will be no insurance savings. Any savings in your personal insurance will be more than eaten up by the auto company's increased insurance rates passed on to you in the purchase price of the autonomous car. But your personal rates won't go down, the insurance companies always raise their rates.

When Michigan went No-Fault in the 1970s the public was outraged that their rates went UP, so the legislature tried to eliminate No-Fault and the insurance companies said "Go ahead, we'll just raise rates again!"

RE: Soon
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2012 6:44:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah well I think we're all tired of hearing about California's unique traffic problems, and how because of them they get to set MPG standards that the rest of the country has to abide. Among other things. To use a cliche, sorry California, but that sounds like a personal problem to me.

Even if you squeeze the cars closer together, in 5 years once another 10 million or so Mexicans fence-jump their way into CA and the idiot lawmakers allow them to obtain licenses, you're back to square one.

RE: Soon
By Spuke on 5/22/2012 10:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you squeeze the cars closer together, in 5 years once another 10 million or so Mexicans fence-jump their way into CA and the idiot lawmakers allow them to obtain licenses, you're back to square one.
This what I find SOOOO hilarious about these silly pie in the sky acts by the CA government. We have an entire class of people that will NEVER be able to afford these types of cars. Do these people really think that autonomous cars will cost the same as cars today? The new CAFE standards are going to take another chunk of people out of the new car market. I can only imagine how many people this will remove.

I can see the logic in having cars with this capability but, just like today, we're always going to have a significant group of drivers that can't afford any of this tech and WILL be driving old, fully human controlled vehicles. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this will either not happen in CA or if if it does happen, they'll turn the carpool lanes into autonomous vehicle only lanes (with the appropriate fee to use that lane).

RE: Soon
By The Raven on 5/23/2012 1:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
We have an entire class of people that will NEVER be able to afford these types of cars.
Silly. Sure they will be able to afford it. You are forgetting that this is CA that we are talking about. They will be provided free of charge by the 1%.

The autonomous cars will drive us all into Greece-like financial ruin.

RE: Soon
By aharris02 on 5/22/2012 4:09:13 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. My enjoyment of the night time joyride through a beautiful city with a cool breeze, windows or top down, and music up would be utterly destroyed by autopilot.

I'm all for this technology, but when it comes to implementation, please don't forget that some of us still thoroughly enjoy driving on occasion.

RE: Soon
By Spuke on 5/22/2012 4:49:50 PM , Rating: 3
I agree. Commuting is one thing but I LOVE an early morning mountain drive in my sports car.

Can't wait for this technology to get perfected
By Mint on 5/22/2012 1:37:44 PM , Rating: 3
After getting into an at-fault accident myself (no drinking), I'm fully aware that humans aren't perfect. I don't think I'd ever fully, 100% trust myself as being able to drive me or my loved ones with a negligible risk of accident, and I certainly don't trust others' driving ability either, having been on the receiving end as a pedestrian.

It should be a huge cost saver, too. On top of efficiency, insurance could probably drop to half or less.

The only bad thing is that it will eventually take a huge chunk out of unskilled labor demand and/or wages, as a lot of people earn a living driving.

By drycrust3 on 5/22/2012 2:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
After getting into an at-fault accident myself ...I don't think I'd ever fully, 100% trust myself as being able to drive me or my loved ones with a negligible risk of accident

I think your attitude is admirable. I would even go so far as to say you are the sort of person who should be driving.
Years ago, when I first attended a defensive driving course, we were told about taxi drivers who had driven for 20 years without an accident. I was incredulous, believing it wasn't possible. Now, as a professional driver, I think it is possible.
Notice that? I think it is possible for people to drive for 20 years and not have an accident, and the excellent record of autonomous cars shows it really is possible.
Is there any secret recipe in their driving? I think they are very strict in monitoring their own performance, especially things like maintaining a safe following distance and sticking to the speed limits. Maybe someone can expand on what performance parameters the autonomous vehicles use.
The only bad thing is that it will eventually take a huge chunk out of unskilled labor demand

This isn't a silly comment. The fact is we could end up with entire cities being run and maintained without a single person in sight, which sort of begs the question of "Why bother?".
As much as I don't like the idea of "government created" jobs, the fact is "government created" jobs are better than putting people on some sort of welfare and then leaving them idle. As my father says, "The Devil finds work for idle hands".

By SlyNine on 5/22/2012 6:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
The secret to autonomous cars excellent record, Controlled risk. Wait until these systems are fully deployed, You'll see a lot of accidents before this system is better then a good driver.

By martin5000 on 5/22/2012 3:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are possibly the first human to admit they were at fault in an accident.

By Spuke on 5/22/2012 3:38:37 PM , Rating: 2
I've been in two accidents and both were my fault. The first one a slid down hill on ice, across an intersection (thank God it was late at night), through a fence and stopped in front of a tree stump. Even though I wasn't speeding or drinking, that section of road I was on was notorious for black ice. I ignored that. Second time I got distracted because I dropped my CD and when I looked up my lane was stopped, I swerved into the left lane only to find the reason my lane was stopped, a car was trying to make a right turn from the left lane. I smacked into a car that was stopped because of the idiot trying to make that turn.

I find that paying attention avoids most all of these issues. When your attention is compromised, you're in dangerous territory IMO.

By SlyNine on 5/22/2012 6:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
So you think computers are going to be perfect too hu?

By knutjb on 5/22/2012 4:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
California is over $16B in debt in the first five months of this year alone and they are spending their time on this? Explative...Brilliant!

RE: WOW...
By Spuke on 5/22/2012 4:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
We're going to go bankrupt for sure. The kicker is that the feds will just bail us out only to repeat the same mistakes over again.

RE: WOW...
By knutjb on 5/22/2012 5:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know, depends on the election and public sentiment. I live in Idaho but grew up as a fifth generation Californian. I have yet to encounter anyone who wants to bailout Ca in Idaho or Washinton. I live on the boarder.

I hope most see Ca as the direction the Federal government is headed. If the Feds let states collect reasonable oil revenues from oil recovered off their coasts Ca could continue for a bit longer in its current, failed socialist experiment.

RE: WOW...
By ketchup79 on 5/23/2012 9:02:19 AM , Rating: 2
Can we just give CA to Mexico already? Bunch of idiots.

Am I the only one...
By The Raven on 5/23/2012 2:04:34 PM , Rating: 3
...who wants to know about the sex clause? Can "drivers" have sex in these cars? If so what positions would be legal? Do you have to keep your seatbelts on? Must we draw curtains as to not distract real drivers? Is lateral gyration forbidden? Or are we limited to a forward-backward motion?

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