Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today took a test ride in a "self-driving car" before signing into law new safety standards and regulations for autonomous vehicles.
"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."
Google executives and elected leaders, who joined Governor Brown for a signing ceremony at the Googleplex, said the bill paves the way for new technology that could reduce highway fatalities, pollution and congestion while expanding mobility options for elderly and disabled people.
"California is at the forefront of technology. Developing and deploying autonomous vehicles will save lives and create jobs. California is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in this field," said Senator Alex Padilla.
"Self-driving cars can transform lives and communities--providing transportation to those not currently served, increasing safety on the road, reducing or eliminating congestion, and turning parking into parkland," said Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Senate Bill 1298 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) allows driverless cars to be operated on public roads for testing purposes, provided that each vehicle has a fully licensed and bonded operator in the driver's seat to take control if necessary. The bill also instructs the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations that govern the licensing, bonding, testing and operation of autonomous vehicle technology.
The bill instructs the DMV to adopt the new regulations as soon as practicable but no later than January 1, 2015.