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    California Legislators Race to Catch the Future
    Posted: 2012-06-20 05:07:55

    You may have heard about driverless cars because Google has been in the process of developing one. You may have thought that it was a cool idea that may become reality one day (but not in your lifetime). But who would have expected California¬ís legislators to propose a legislation that would make these cars legal? Is it not a bit too soon? California has decided to follow Nevada¬ís initiative to legalize autonomous cars and allow them to be used on streets (with some restrictions, of course). These cars are meant to improve driving safety and reduce accidents caused by human error ¬Ė reasons that the government readily supported as road accidents remain a leading cause of death. Developing such cars also seems to be a prospect for a new industry that California hopes to be the first to capture. If these cars become commercialized and widely demanded by the public, California has the potential to become the leading manufacturer. The new legislation proposes creating new licensing rules and newsafety and performance standards. One would want to make sure that these cars can actually perform the way that they are supposed to. Furthermore, operating these vehicles is restricted to licensed drivers only, and there has to be a mechanism that would allow the driver to turn on/off the autonomous functions. Interestingly also, the new legislation defines the operator of the autonomous vehicle to be the person that engages the autonomous capabilities of the car. This means that the human ¬ďdriver¬Ē does not have to be in the car to operate it. He/she can be standing somewhere a long distance away while turning on the autonomous function. Although these cars are not fully commercialized, the new legislation allows Google to test them and further develop them. So, it may be years before these cars actually become a reality and are used by the masses.

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