The state Senate recently approved a bill that will allow for testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Tests would require a human driver to be in the driver’s seat and immediately able to take over control of the vehicle if necessary.
Advocates argue that autonomous vehicles offer “significant potential safety, mobility and commercial benefits for individuals and businesses in the state and elsewhere.”
Similar legislation was passed in Nevada last year.
In California, the bill’s original sponsor in the Senate pointed to Google’s success in testing a self-driving car. Google’s driverless car project, which involves multiple cars on the road at once, has so far logged more than 300,000 test miles.
“The vast majority of vehicle accidents are due to human error,” said California Sen. Alex Padilla (D), who introduced the autonomous car proposal earlier this year. “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.”