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California approves self-driving cars on public roads

California approves self-driving cars on public roads
Photo courtesy of Lanz von Liebenfels

The Google technology that just might change everything keeps coming at us: the self-driving car. Now, California is getting in on the act.

California has approved rules for testing self-driving cars in that state. Now, Google can get on with taking their car out on the road, but there will be restrictions.

According to the adopted regulatory text that the California DMV posted on Tuesday, a manufacturer which wants to test autonomous vehicles has to apply for a testing permit, certify its drivers to test the cars, and secure a $5 million insurance or safety bond. The testing permit must be renewed after one year or else it expires.

It is funny that the operator of a self-driving car will need more training than the driver of a normal car! But that's partly because of the complicated technology used.

“As automated systems get more complex, human understanding also gets more complex,” ... said [Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford]. “For a vehicle to suddenly swerve to the right, a human would have to grab [the steering wheel]... training becomes even more important, and it would also be important for general users.”

Next page: What happens in case of an accident? Find out
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