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California proposal says self-driving cars must have driver behind wheel

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google driverless car

Google's driverless car

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California regulators say self-driving cars of the future must have a licensed driver behind the wheel, at least until the technology is proven safe.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled precedent-setting draft regulations Wednesday. They will help frame how regulators elsewhere give consumers access to the cars.

Though no manufacturer has said the cars are ready yet, the most aggressive suggest a model could be ready within a few years.

California’s proposed rules will slow the public deployment of the cars. They are subject to public comment and will not be final for months.

The DMV has struggled with how to know the technology is safe — before letting it move beyond the current testing of prototypes on public roads. As a result, the regulations are nearly a year overdue.

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1 Comment

  • panda89687

    Situational awareness is the key to safe driving. That means balancing all hazards and choosing the safest course under the circumstances. Schoolmarmish adherence to the letter of the law, without assessing whether it will increase or decrease the actual level of danger present, is by far the most dangerous habit of certain human drivers, and if it’s the prime directive of the Google cars, then their next drive should be straight back to the drawing board.

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