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The new bill notes that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has until January 1, 2015 to adopt the new regulations

We may not have flying cars yet, but the state of California is getting a taste of the future with a newly-signed bill for self-driving cars.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a bill to create safety standards for autonomous vehicles earlier this week after taking one for a test drive himself. The bill is Senate Bill 1298 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), which states that self-driving cars can be used on public roads for testing purposes only as long as there is a licensed operator in the driver's seat to take over if needed.

"Autonomous vehicles are another example of how California's technological leadership is turning today's science fiction into tomorrow's reality," said Governor Brown. "This law will allow California's pioneering engineers to safely test and implement this amazing new technology."

Self-driving cars are being considered in an effort to cut highway fatalities, highway congestion and pollution. It also offers a new form of transportation for those with disabilities.

Governor Brown signed the bill at the Googleplex alongside Google executives. The tech giant recently announced that its self-driving cars had logged 300,000 accident-free miles during tests. Google plans to be at the forefront of the cutting-edge technology.

The new bill notes that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has until January 1, 2015 to adopt the new regulations.

Sources:, CNN

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By Amiga500 on 9/27/2012 12:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
It'll be nice getting an extra hour or two of sleep when the motor is crawling along in a traffic jam.

No fun twisty bits to go through at speed = autopilot now please.


RE: Good....
By aurareturn on 9/27/2012 12:45:30 PM , Rating: 3
I do think that I will fall asleep while my car drives me around because of my long commute to work. But the thought of letting a robot handle my life... is still terrifying to me.

RE: Good....
By Spuke on 9/27/2012 12:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care. I don't and will never live in a large city. They can self-drive all they want. I will say that if it will improve driving times, ie no traffic jams, through cities then I'm all for it.

RE: Good....
By Samus on 9/27/2012 1:31:16 PM , Rating: 3
The safety advantage of not being "behind the wheel" is if a 'robot' is driving your car, then you can be in a safer position when it crashes. If this technology catches on, I see passengers being moved toward the center of the vehicle when cars become fully automated.

But like in I Robot, there will likely always be a manual override to take control (and there should be.)

RE: Good....
By Flunk on 9/27/2012 1:06:49 PM , Rating: 3
I plan to drive whatever car I can that isn't automated for as long as possible. I will however take advantage of all the automated cars and abuse my knowledge of their safety features to get places faster.

RE: Good....
By lightfoot on 9/27/2012 1:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why wait? Cars already have anti-lock breaks and airbags. Many also have electronic stability control, so you don't even have to worry about them rolling when you run them off the road.

RE: Good....
By FaaR on 9/28/2012 11:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
How on earth would "electronic stability control" prevent a car from rolling over if you drive it off the road?

Y'cannae change the laws o' physics, Capt'n!

RE: Good....
By cyberguyz on 9/28/2012 4:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
When recently shopping around for a new car I looked at the 2013 Ford Fusion in detail. It already has all the fixin's to become a robotic car:

A 'Pacing' cruise control that will slow the car down if it senses a care up front slowing down or stopping.

Lane departure correction -- will steer you back into your lane if you drift out. Just take your hands off the wheel and let it do the steering for you. You might weave back & forth in your lane like a drunk, but you won't leave it. An the car will make a godawful racket the whole way.

With the two above, you could pretty much doze off behind the wheel and the car will keep on driving (if you can sleep thru the racket of the car trying to wake you up), not leave the lane and not hit the guy who stops in front of you.

Throw in 'semi-automatic' parallel parking handles all the steering for you (you still have to shift push the brake and gas) and you have a car that will almost drive itself today. The only thing really missing here is a linkage between the GPS and the steering/brake/accelerator.

While a technogeek's wet dream, I wouldn't touch it. This thing is 95% computer controlled. I have worked in the software business for 35 years and believe me, I have seen what happens with version 1.0 (or any other 'point zero' version) of software. Yikes!!

RE: Good....
By Rukkian on 9/27/12, Rating: 0
RE: Good....
By rdhood on 9/27/2012 4:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I think that this is great. Here is why:

Lets say you have a line of traffic 8 miles long, traveling at an appx speed of 16mph. It will take about a half hour to get through the traffic. IN THEORY, if all 8 miles of cars could accelerate/brake together, then the traffic could accelerate to 60mph and traverse the same distance in 8 minutes. Traffic commute times could be drastically reduced.

The problem: not all cars are created equal. I suspect that a really good self-drive commute would rely on all cars on the road having the same performance, reliability, etc (i.e. Everyone has to purchase the same self-driving car!). Yuck.

RE: Good....
By blue_urban_sky on 9/28/2012 2:48:28 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is not that important, if there is rudimentary communication between vehicles they should be able to co-ordinate their efforts. and even the worst car in the jam in theory should manage 90mph and be able to accelerate to 60mph in under a minute. So it would be 9 minutes and everyone can have different auto cars.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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