Self-driving cars will be permitted to motor around the most populous U.S. state, at least on a test basis, after California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law written with the help of Google Inc. (GOOG)
The new law allows testing of autonomous vehicles on the state’s roadways as long as there’s a fully licensed human in the driver’s seat to take over if needed.
“Today we are looking at science fiction become tomorrow’s reality,” Brown said at a signing ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google, the operator of the world’s largest Internet search engine, has modified a Toyota Prius that drives itself using video cameras, radar sensors, a laser rangefinder and detailed maps. The vehicle includes a failsafe mechanism that lets the driver take control of the car simply by grabbing the steering wheel or hitting the brakes, much like the override on a cruise control.