Calif. to allow self-drive cars in tests

Aug. 31, 2012 at 7:35 PM

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- California lawmakers have passed a bill that could make the state the second in the United States to approve self-driving cars on its roads.

The bill, passed unanimously by the state senate, will go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it into law, TG Daily reported Friday.

Under the law, the California Department of Motor Vehicles would be required to create standards and licensing procedures for autonomous vehicles.

"The bill would permit autonomous vehicles to be operated or tested on the public roads in this state pending the adoption of safety standards and performance requirements that would be adopted under this bill," the legislation reads.

Until standards are in place its not known precisely under what conditions driverless cars would be allowed to operate, although it's likely a driver would be required to be behind the steering wheel at all times, as in Nevada, the other state to have considered such a law.

Google has been testing autonomous vehicles on California roads, with engineering lead Chris Urmson saying in a blog post the company's cars have completed more than 300,000 miles of testing without an accident.

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