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.