Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill last week that would allow self-driving cars on California roads.
Because most traffic accidents are caused by human error, such vehicles could help reduce the number of accidents, improve road congestion and reduce emissions, said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who sponsored SB 1298. The bill establishes guidelines for "autonomous vehicles" to be tested and operated in California.
Google, Caltech and other organizations are working to develop cars that use radar, video cameras and lasers to navigate roads and traffic. Though self-driving cars are expected to be safer than human-operated vehicles, a person must still legally be behind the wheel in case of emergency.