Driverless Cars Get Backing from California Legislators

State legislators in California have started the process of legalizing the use of self-driving vehicles on state roads.

NBC News reports that they have begun the process with a bill requiring the DMV to set safety and performance guidelines for the driverless cars. Nevada may have already done this last year, but California’s larger market and influence could help set the standards worldwide.

The bill, SB 1298, was unanimously passed by the California state senate Wednesday and should be on the governors desk soon. The bill only sets out some basic requirements for the California DMV and Highway Patrol to work with:

The State of California, which presently does not prohibit or specifically regulate the operation of autonomous vehicles, desires to encourage the current and future development, testing, and operation of autonomous vehicles on the public roads of the state. The state seeks to avoid interrupting these activities while at the same time creating appropriate rules intended to ensure that the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in the state are conducted in a safe manner.

(d) Toward that end, the Legislature finds it appropriate to authorize the establishment of specific safety requirements for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles, and to require that future testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in the state comply with those requirements.

The bill should not have any trouble being signed by the state’s governor, Jerry Brown.

Google, based in Mountain View, has been working on autonomous vehicles for years, and has even tested them out on city streets in San Francisco. Given Google’s experience in designing self-driven cars, they will likely be as integral in the discussion as the Highway Patrol.

There is no time frame given, but it still will be awhile before self-driven cars are sharing the roads with us in a fully-functioning manner.