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California Approves Driverless Cars

California Approves Driverless Cars

By Jeff Youngs, September 26, 2012
California Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday signed into law a bill formally legalizing autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless or self-driving cars, to operate on the state's roads. The new law requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to draft specific safety regulations by 2015 for such vehicles, which are in development at numerous auto manufacturers and technology companies.
                                                   Courtesy of Google

Brown rode to the signing ceremony at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., in the company's self-driving Toyota Prius. Google has been working on driverless car technology for years, and its fleet of autonomous Prius vehicles has covered 300,000 miles without incident, according to the company.

"Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality--the self-driving car," Brown said. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that such vehicles would become available to consumers within the next 10 years.

Autonomous cars use exterior sensors and cameras, mapping software, databases, and other technology to transport occupants to a specific destination without any driver input. However, a human driver can take full control of the vehicle at any time.

Proponents of driverless cars say the technology will make roads safer, improve traffic flow, allow commuters to multi-task, and provide new transportation solutions for physically or chemically impaired people. Critics argue that liability issues need to be sorted out before moving forward with the technology.

California joins Florida and Nevada as the third state to legalize the use of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

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