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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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RE: Soon
By Solandri on 5/22/2012 5:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


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