Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Seattle PI reports that California has become the third state to explicitly legalize driverless vehicles, setting the stage for computers to take the wheel along the state’s highways and roads as Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1298, which affirms that autonomous vehicles are legal in California, while requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to establish and enforce safety regulations for manufacturers. “Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality,” said Gov. Brown. “This self-driving car is another step forward in this long, march of California pioneering the future and leading not just the country, but the whole world.” The law immediately allows for testing of the vehicles on public roadways, so long as properly licensed drivers are seated at the wheel and able to take over. It also lays out a roadmap for manufacturers to seek permits from the DMV to build and sell driverless cars to consumers. Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Automotive Research points to a statistical basis for safety that the DMV might consider as it begins to develop standards. “Google’s cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars. If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles. To my knowledge, Google has yet to reach these milestones.”"
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