California Gets Ready for Driverless Cars

New law creates regulations for testing self-driven vehicles

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 26, 2012 7:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Attention, Amanda Bynes: Your driverless car is ready. California, which perhaps coincidentally seems to bear the brunt of starlets driving under the influence of stardom, has passed legislation clearing the way for autonomous cars on its roads. "Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality," said California Gov. Jerry Brown in signing the bill, which sets safety regulations for testing and operating the self-driven cars. "Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they'll get over it."

The concept is the brainchild of Google, which has been testing a fleet of a dozen self-driven vehicles that it says has logged 300,000 miles without an accident, reports the AP. "I think the self-driving car can really dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone," says Google co-founder Sergey Brin, adding that he expects the cars will be "far safer" than those with mere mortals behind the wheel. Brin predicts driverless cars will be commercially available within 10 years, and some Californians can't wait: "We wouldn't have to worry about people texting or getting sidetracked," says one. "The computer will take over, and it will make life easier."

Sergey Brin gestures after riding in a driverless car with Gov. Jerry Brown and state Sen. Alex Padilla to a bill signing for driverless cars at Google HQ, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Sergey Brin gestures after riding in a driverless car with Gov. Jerry Brown and state Sen. Alex Padilla to a bill signing for driverless cars at Google HQ, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Sergey Brin, wearing Internet glasses, speaks as California Gov. Jerry Brown listens during a bill signing for driverless cars at Google HQ, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Sergey Brin, wearing Internet glasses, speaks as California Gov. Jerry Brown listens during a bill signing for driverless cars at Google HQ, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Sergey Brin at a bill signing for driverless cars at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Sergey Brin at a bill signing for driverless cars at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
California Gov. Jerry Brown, state Sen. Alex Padilla, and Sergey Brin stand by a driverless car at Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, state Sen. Alex Padilla, and Sergey Brin stand by a driverless car at Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill for driverless cars as state Sen. Alex Padilla and Sergey Brin look on at Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill for driverless cars as state Sen. Alex Padilla and Sergey Brin look on at Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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