Following the steps of Nevada to officially approve rules for self-driving cars on its public roads, the State Senate of California passed the Senate Bill 1298 today to support the safety and performance standards of autonomous vehicles operating on the state’s roads and highways. The bill, authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, passed with a unanimous vote of 37-0, and will now make its way to the State Assembly, where it is expected to receive its seal of approval within the next month. Senator Padilla explained that thousands of Californians tragically die in auto accidents each year and that the vast majority of these collisions are due to human error.
“Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle can analyze the driving environment more quickly and accurately and can operate the vehicle more safely,” the Senator added. In case of emergency, the bill requires all vehicles to meet existing federal and state safety standards, and will be required to include a mechanism for disabling autonomous functions. A licensed driver will also be required to be in the vehicle at all times and all autonomous vehicles tested are expected to work with the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles to recommend additional requirements.