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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.

By Ammohunt on 9/27/2012 1:46:20 PM , Rating: 4
I still feel that this can eventually lead to a a "Government knows best" type of nannyism. If this ever catches on then i can see them making the argument that human controlled vehicles are the last remaining variable keeping the roads 100% safe. Which invariably leads to having our driving privileges revoked and at the same time our right to freely move around long distances in an unmonitored way. Just like the city of New York makes lifestyle decisions for its citizens by banning large soda drinks. Its a slow erosion of freedoms in the name of "safety" and another layer of control..again how do you boil a frog?

RE: Problem
By tayb on 9/27/2012 2:49:55 PM , Rating: 1
I think a world where cars drive themselves is extremely desirable but I don't think it will ever happen. I also don't think a car driving itself removes your freedom to move about the country in any way. Whether you can move without being monitored is irrelevant in my opinion because that is a valid concern with or without self driving cars.

Until you can completely remove the human element from driving automated cars will never truly work. No robot can account for the infinite stupidity of a human being. It will probably need to be all or nothing and I just don't see that ever being practical. Sure, it works in isolated cases but what happens when someone dies while riding in a self driving car? Even if the other driver was clearly at fault people will get upset.

I'm fine with losing driving privileges. It's not a right, just a privilege. It's a mode of transportation to get you from point A to point B. If you want to drive there will be places to drive but not on public roads (there are plenty of private roads already). Removing drivers would have unbelievably positive impacts on the economy. The amount of time and money people spend/lose while sitting in traffic is incredible.

According to a 2007 Time's study Americans spend nearly 4.2 billion hours in traffic annually which amounts to approximately $87.2 billion or $750 per traveler per year. That's some serious added purchasing power for each individual.,8599,190...

RE: Problem
By Rukkian on 9/27/2012 3:38:59 PM , Rating: 1
I am not sure why it would need to be all or nothing. So far the 300k miles driven without incident (of which many were in traffic) shows that we can have both. While it is not fool proof, I think that the computer can calculate what other drivers may do, and since they can see 360deg, would probably be better than alot of humans at anticipating what other idjits will do.

I think that, if done right, this could have a huge impact on safety of highways as well as dropping traffic jams.

I would love to have the option to have an automated vehicle for my 60m commutes each day, then be able to drive when I feel like it as well.

I do not support mandating autonomous vehicles, and don't think it could ever get passed (at least in my lifetime).

RE: Problem
By Ammohunt on 9/27/2012 4:24:46 PM , Rating: 1
I do not support mandating autonomous vehicles, and don't think it could ever get passed (at least in my lifetime).

I thought the same about Government Health Care...

RE: Problem
By diggernash on 9/27/2012 6:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
The glaring difference between the ideology of self versus the ideology of the hive in this post makes me increasingly depressed about our future as a species. I'm just waiting on the Mongol horde to show up at our doorstep and teach us about the weakness of civility.

I also pity the makers of athletic cups, as shown there will be no market for them.

RE: Problem
By MadMan007 on 9/30/2012 10:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you're over 47 years old, 'Government Health Care' in the U.S. has existed for your entire life.

RE: Problem
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 7:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm fine with losing driving privileges. It's not a right, just a privilege.

What a shock that you would say this...

Who gets the speeding ticket?
By lightfoot on 9/27/2012 1:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
So when this car gets pulled over for speeding (or any other traffic violation,) who gets the ticket?

The passenger?

The car owner?

The car manufacturer?


RE: Who gets the speeding ticket?
By hughlle on 9/27/2012 1:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering how the insurance would work and if so how the insurance companies will react to it. I'm certainly not paying lots of insurance if i'm not the person driving it.

By freedom4556 on 9/27/2012 1:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
Liability was always the issue. That's how insurance works; spread the costs from the risk from the bad drivers across the good drivers, but not enough to run them off. There will probably be a discount for computer driving once it's proven safer than humans. I can just see a huge "overage" type penalty for taking the car into 'manual.' Anybody else have huge iRobot deja vu?

RE: Who gets the speeding ticket?
By degobah77 on 9/28/2012 12:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is that no one gets a speeding ticket if the car is programmed to only go the posted limit.

I don't think this will ever be adopted on a large scale.

With counties, states, lawyers, courts raking in massive amounts of cash off of people going 10-20 miles over a speed limit that is conveniently set at 10-15mph lower than it should be, how are they going to replace that revenue when cars don't speed anymore?

Speed traps don't enforce safety, they enforce a steady reliable income. Self-driving cars kill off that market altogether!

real miles?
By Souka on 9/27/2012 4:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
self-driving cars had logged 300,000 accident-free miles during tests.

300,000 real miles? or did someone leave a car running with the wheel locked at a 45' angle....

Just curios how many real-outdoor miles in uncontrolled situations were actually done? I suspect not many.


RE: real miles?
By Rukkian on 9/27/2012 4:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
Got something to base this on?

I have seen several videos and articles written with people in the cars traveling down actual interstates and highways with cars merging, and even avoiding idiots swerving while taking pictures of the car while they should be driving their own car.

I am sure some of the miles are in optimal conditions, but many were actually out in public. This bill basically lets it get more real world tests to see if it is feasible to have these intermingle with human drivers.

RE: real miles?
By harshbarj on 9/27/2012 8:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Of those 300,000 miles, only 50,000 were actually done without a human driver holding the wheel. So it's not really that impressive yet.

No, Law not Bill!
By danjw1 on 9/27/2012 1:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
It was a bill when it was moving through the state legislature and before it was signed my Governor Brown. It is now a law.

When can I call a Johnny Cab
By siliconvideo on 9/27/2012 2:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
When can I call a Johnny Cab. This would have been a prefect bill for Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign off on.

By Qapa on 9/30/2012 9:33:44 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you'll have all taxi drivers complaining in a couple of years when they are no longer needed...

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