Google’s Driverless Cars Inspire New California LegislationBy: Chris Crum - March 2, 2012
Last summer, Nevada legalized autonomous cars, clearing the way for Google’s driverless cars program. Earlier this month, news came out that the state is developing some regulations for such cars, including new licensing procedures.
California Senator Alex Padilla announced new legislation to get the driverless cars going in California similarly, after arriving at a press conference in one of Google’s cars. Here’s some video:
The bill would direct the California Highway Patrol to “develop guidelines for the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in California.”
“It was pretty amazing when Google’s vehicle went into self-driving mode. The drive was smooth and safe. It worked flawlessly. It is a testament to human ingenuity and the power of technology in California,” said Padilla.
“The vast majority of vehicle accidents are due to human error,” he said. “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.”
“Advancement and deployment of autonomous vehicles will not only save lives, it will create jobs. California is uniquely positioned to be the global leader in this field,” he added.
“California is our home state,” said Google product manager Anthony Levandowski. “Our self-driving cars have safely traveled more than 200,000 miles here. We’re very fortunate to have found a supporter with a strong technical background in Senator Padilla, and we look forward to working with him throughout this process.”
In December, it was learned that Google secured the patent on its driverless car technology – specifically, “transitioning a mixed-mode vehicle to autonomous mode”.
Other states, such as Arizona, Hawaii, Florida and Oklahoma are currently considering autonomous vehicles legislation. Google’s driverless cars may be a more serious part of Google’s business in the future.