California's SB 1298 allows self-driving cars on public roads

Credit: flickr/minicooper93402

Rules for “autonomous vehicles” have to be set in place by California DMV, then robot cars are street legal.

Passed unanimously in the state senate after a 72-4 vote in the legislature, SB 1298 orders the Department of Motor Vehicles to define safety standards and “performance requirements” (ars technica) for manufacturers to follow. The bill's text does not prohibit testing such cars at this time, which is good since Google has been doing so.

This follows Nevada's law passed earlier this year allowing self-driving cars on the road, and designated special license plates for those cars. Google announced on August 10 their cars have driven over 300,000 miles without a single crash.

Great news

Sign me up! I can already imagine me stumbling out of a bar with my keys in hand and one of my concerned friends nagging me about whos driving. Of course I get to be a smart ass and say The car is driving!

sickr1rider on

Good, one step closer to them being allowed on by consumers, and one step closer to them being allowed everywhere.

Kingsix on

I can definitely see the potential for something like this to reduce traffic accidents to near zero (minus the occasional computer malfunction that leads to a car taking out a bus-stop full of disabled veterans holding babies... oops!).

Neil Hilton on


My biggest concern is whether or not autonomous vehicles will be able to manage the little details on it's own or if they will always require a human who is capable of taking over in some circumstances.

TheShark on

In Nevada, the law passed stated that if you’re drunk behind the wheel of an autonomous/semi-autonomous car, you can still get a DWI. The only thing you’re allowed to do that you couldn’t otherwise behind the wheel is send text messages.

Siromega on

you bet your ass the law requires a licensed, capable person to be ready to take over control at any time. I don't see that changing any time within the next couple of decades.

whisk3ers on


I, for one welcome our new robot car overlords.

bleeper on

Someone patent the futon car seat, there’s going to be a lot more sleeping and sex going on in cars soon.

DeeeNYC on

The mast is so cool looking that people who have old driverful cars are going to look dorky.

John Bailo on

How much extra are you willing to pay for the self-driving option on your next car?

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