The latest version of the Google self-driving car. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
California Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation this week that will pave the way for driverless cars in California. The Governor signed the bill at the Google Inc. headquarters.
The bill in favor of autonomous vehicle operation by Senator Alex Pedilla will establish safety and performance regulations to see how the vehicles will do on state roads and highways before allowing drivers to use them.
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"We're stepping on the accelerator when it comes to the Google car," Padilla said at a press conference announcing the legislation had been signed.
Autonomous cars use computers, sensors and other technology to operate by itself, though a driver can override the vehicle and take over at any time. The car may sound like a dream, but experts believe the cars could be sold nationwide within the decade.
Once the car is officially introduced, all kinds of driving problems could be solved across the nation. Smartphone addicts for example who are more distracted than ever would no longer be a risk to other drivers making the roads a much safer place. The breakthrough could also help people with disabilities, people who are too young to drive or even too old. The car could also prevent drunk driving accidents eventually.
The person controlling the vehicle would still need to obtain a new type of driver's license, but one can imagine the test of how to operate the override and emergency functions can't be as hard as learning how to parallel park for the first time.
In February, Nevada became the first U.S. state to approve regulations spelling out requirements for companies to test the Google self-driving car on that state's roads. Carmakers all around the world including Ford and Audi have been working on autopilot features for a lot time, and have said that there vehicles could feature the autopilot function as early as 2017.
So far the cars have driven up to 300,000 miles and 50,000 of those were without any human interaction.