California is on its way to taking a ride with the autonomous car. By a vote of 37-0, the State Senate approved Senate Bill 1298 (you can read it here) that begins to establish how guidelines on and oversight of self-driving vehicles will be handled.

The bill charges the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles with providing recommendations to the legislature on "the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on California's public roads" with and without a licensed driver present. However, the driverless provision can't come into effect until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration draws up federal guidelines on autonomous cars without drivers.

The bill is being championed by Senator and MIT graduate Alex Padilla, who envisions "a future that includes self-driving cars" because, "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and injuries." California is the second state after Nevada to make genuine progress on the road to autonomous vehicles, and four other states are considering legislation. The CA bill goes to the State Assembly next and is expected to pass.


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  • 46 Comments
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good. God knows anything can driver better than an LA driver in the rain.
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      California already has autonomous cars. Ever been to the mall on Saturday and seen the suburban women blundering around in massive SUVs while they do makeup, eat, yell at their kids, and blab on the phone? You think they are actively driving?
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about instead of autonomous cars, we adopt European driver's license certification programs? The human brain is still the most sophisticated computer on the planet, but like any hardware its nothing without software training.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Going to be re-posting what I previously said in the last autonomous car-related articles. Let's see how close my prediction gets... My prediction: prototype autonomous vehicles.........production autonomous vehicles..........slow sales of autonomous vehicles............studies showing autonomous vehicles far safer for pedestrians and motorists.....government offers tax credit for autonomous vehicles buyers.........government-backed media/statistics start reporting more on non-autonomous vehicle accidents/deaths more often......."WAR ON" non-autonomous vehicles in effect.......insurance rates on non-autonomous vehicles skyrockets making them unaffordable for large part of the general population......NHTSA/Government mandate autonomous vehicle production numbers to manufacturers.......we're all driving effin' robot cars!!! Call it a Conspiracy Theory now, but when you start following certain things in the world, a pattern usually starts becoming visible in most things.
        Andre Neves
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Especially when you start seeing statements like this: "The bill is being championed by Senator and MIT graduate Alex Padilla, who envisions "a future that includes self-driving cars" because, "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and injuries." That's how it all begins folks. Call me crazy now, but you'll see.
        CBJMNWLD
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I am with you. People are so lazy and out of touch anyway it plays into it. The Gov't isn't Big Brother so much as Google. They are imposing their "vision" of what THEY want the world to be. One where they know and control all. You scenario: ............studies showing autonomous vehicles far safer for pedestrians and motorists.....government offers tax credit for autonomous vehicles buyers.........government-backed media/statistics start reporting more on non-autonomous vehicle accidents/deaths more often......."WAR ON" non-autonomous vehicles in effect.......insurance rates on non-autonomous vehicles skyrockets making them unaffordable for large part of the general population......NHTSA/Government mandate autonomous vehicle production numbers to manufacturers.......we're all driving effin' robot cars!!! Is SPOT ON
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        People already pay higher insurance rates to cover the losses caused by inattentive or under-skilled drivers every day. Theoretically, autonomous vehicles should reduce the rates for people who have them, while people who don't would continue pay what they pay now.
      NissanGTR
      • 2 Years Ago
      This will be great for senior citizens, women, and the disabled.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just noticed - the automotive car in the picture above is BMW. I know Autoblog has a perpetual hard-on for BMW, but can you please use picture of something more reliable, like a Hyundai or Lexus.
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        Maybe you should contact Hyundai or Lexus and ask them to actually develop an autonomous car. Autoblog can't post pictures of imaginary cars.
      Gorgenapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and injuries." * to significantly reduce stress and frustration ... for the rest of us who actually know how to drive and didn't get our licenses out of a cracker jack box."
      Jobu
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hold on.... Isn't California running a fiscal year deficit of $16 Billion right about now? How does this make sense given that fact?
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jobu
        Hey, I live on the east cost, so I have no dog in this fight. However, let California keep ALL of its tax revenue in California, instead of giving it to the Federal gov't. to support deadbeat states like Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma etc. California would do just fine. The federal government never have a problem with taking from California, depending on who is in government (federally) California's fortunes rise and fall. It happened at the end of the Reagan presidency and again at the end of the Bush II presidency. California is one of the few states that could secede from the union and actually be better off than it is today.
        Sorten Borten
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jobu
        "The bill charges the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles with providing recommendations to the legislature" doesn't sound like much of a fiscal impact. The State of California won't be developing the autonomous vehicles, just the regulations for their safe operation.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jobu
        It makes sense to a Keynesian. More spending is always better (except for it usually isn't)
      axiomatik
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lots of paranoia. Autonomous cars will never be 'mandated', certainly not in our lifetime. Far too many people enjoy the act of driving. Far too many people will distrust the technology. Far too many people will fight for the "independence" of driving for themselves. I, for one, look forward to autonomous cars becoming available. The roads are filled with cars being driven by people who clearly would rather be doing something else. If their car was doing the driving, and paying 100% attention, instead of the numbskull in the "driver's" seat swerving into my lane while he replies to a text, I would feel much safer. I certainly would enjoy some sort of 'highway' mode, where long trips on boring interstates could be automated with a high-tech version of cruise control.
      ToyotaSupraMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this is great news. Just remember: imagine if every car that was driven by somebody texting, drunk, or just plain NOT PAYING ATTENTION was switched into an autonomous vehicle designed SPECIFICALLY to drive according to the laws, paying 100% attention to its' surroundings.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ToyotaSupraMan
        [blocked]
        g.torino
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ToyotaSupraMan
        Actually there won't be any traffic jams. There won't be morons driving 20miles on a 65 mile zone.
          a.hat1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @g.torino
          Yes car will be passes through intersection at high speed narrowly missing each other and no one will ever be late.
      Jason
      • 2 Years Ago
      Right, because the only thing that has been hindering autonomous car development is the permission of the California State Legislature.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is going to be unpopular on autoblog, but it is an inevitability in our lifetimes.
        Sorten Borten
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Absolutely. I'm not thrilled about completely autonomous vehicles, but a "hybrid" setup where I drive on city roads and mountain roads and let the car take over on the freeway commutes would be a welcome change.
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