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September 26, 2012

California Moves Forward with Driverless Car Legislation

By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer

A new bill created by Democratic Senator Alex Padilla, of Los Angeles, might help pave the way for driverless automobiles in California. The new bill, which was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown’s, approves technology developed by Google (News - Alert) that uses computers, sensors, and GPS to operate a vehicle.

According to a statement released by Google, the bill needed to be signed into legislation to update the current policies. ”The legislation requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to draft regulations for autonomous vehicles by Jan. 1, 2015. Currently, state law doesn’t mention self-driving cars because the technology is do new,” said repots. 

“The regulations would allow vehicles to operate autonomously, but a licensed driver would still need to sit behind the wheel to serve as a backup operator in case of an emergency.”

Many people in support of these independent vehicles say that cars working off of computers may have the potential to make the roads safer due to the elimination of human error, while others say the car law poses a threat to Californians’ safety and privacy.

“Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality – the self-driving car,” said Brown. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it…I expect that self-driving cars will be far safer than human-driven cars.”

The Watchdog’s Privacy project Director expressed his own concern about privacy and safety over this new technology. “Substantial safety and liability questions remain,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “On the privacy issue, the law gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used,” said Simpson. “What this demonstrates more than anything else is Google’s ability to dazzle and get its way. The governor and many legislators have been taken for a ride by Google – and I don’t just mean in the Internet giant’s driverless test vehicles.”

Although Simpson spoke on his disdain for the new technology, many carmakers have jumped on board creating compatible vehicles. Companies like Audi, BMW, and Ford have already begun working on vehicles that would not only handle the technology, but also be fully functional in as early as five years.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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