The California state legislature has passed a bill approving Google’s self-driving cars this week, allowing autonomous vehicles to be operated on state roads – including highways.
The bill, known as SB 1298, allows these “robot” cars to be tested on California’s roads and outlines rules and standards for the driverless vehicles. The bill passed the State Assembly, with a vote of 74-2, and the Senate unanimously.
The bill allows the self-driving cars onto the state's roads for testing purposes only. Drivers must have the option to manually take control of the vehicle.
The new legislation will also require the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to form and adopt new standards for the innovative vehicles by 2015. If signed into law by the governor, California will be the second state to allow the driverless cars on its roads. Nevada set up its own standards in February, and requires that the cars keep red license plates and actual humans sitting in them.
Google has been testing its autonomous cars for years. The corporation has already logged over 300,000 miles without an accident while the car was controlled solely by its computer. Google recently announced that its self-driving cars could be ready for public use in less than 10 years. Ford recently argued consumers can expect to see such cars on the market by 2017.
“It sounds space age, but it’s almost here,” California State Senator Alex Padilla, who authored the bill, said, as quoted by the San Jose Mercury News.