Driverless cars could be cruising California roads by spring

Gov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles

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A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed State Senate Bill 1298 that allows driverless cars to operate on public roads for testing purposes. The bill also calls for the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations that govern licensing, bonding, testing and operation of the driverless vehicles before January 2015.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has released its newly created regulations for the testing of automated vehicles.

The DMV’s Bernard Soriano said the regulations are intended for manufactures who want to begin testing their cars on California roads. The rules cover everything from how much insurance the cars must have to who can drive them.

“We just want to ensure that whoever is testing the vehicle is able to test it in a safe manner,” he said, “so that the motoring public is going to remain safe.”

The test driver must remain in the driving seat.

A public hearing on the new regulations will be held on January 14 in Sacramento. Soriano said if everything goes smoothly, driverless cars for testing could be hitting the roads this spring.

But when will you be able to operate a driverless car of your own? Soriano said they’re working on those regulations now.

“We’re going to finish those by January 1, 2015,” he said.

But, he cautions, just because the rules will be done doesn’t mean there will be cars for you to buy. Manufactures estimate those won’t be available for several more years.

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