California one step closer to self-driving cars

By Arturo Garcia
Saturday, September 1, 2012 18:05 EDT
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The California state legislature passed a bill Friday that could eventually help self-driving cars become a reality on the state’s highways.

According to WebProNews, the bill, which has yet to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, would require the California Highway Patrol to adopt safety and performance standards for “autonomous vehicles,” in what the bill’s sponsor, state senator Alex Padilla (D), described as an effort to make the roads safer.

“The vast majority of vehicle accidents are due to human error,” Padilla said when he introduced the bill in March. “Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle is capable of analyzing the driving environment more quickly and operating the vehicle more safely. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and improve safety on our roads and highways.”

The Huffington Post reported that earlier this week, Google announced that their own fleet of self-driving cars had logged 300,000 total combined miles. The company had also offered test-drives to a number of state lawmakers.

“I have to say that there are some still issues with it,” said state Senator Alan Lowenthal (D). “But it’s a better driver than I am.”

This past June, Nevada passed a bill allowing its state Department of Transportation to develop regulations for driverless cars. And four other states – Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and Oklahoma – are reportedly considering similar bills.

Watch a demonstration video for one of Google’s automated cars, posted earlier this year on YouTube, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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