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Malcolm Flynn | May 23, 2012

California looks set to be the next US state to permit the use of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Earlier this month, Nevada gave Google the green light for public testing, but several other states are set to follow.

Legislation has now passed through the California State Senate, with Arizona, Hawaii, Florida and Oklahoma having similar plans underway.

California Senate Bill 1298 was passed by the State Senate this week in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 37-0.

The bill will now be considered by the California State Assembly, but is expected to be passed within a month.

Bill 1298 is not quite as advanced as Nevada’s ‘licence to drive’, but rather a series of safety guidelines and performance standards for autonomous vehicles.

The legislation does however symbolise a significant step towards autonomous wheels on Californian streets.

Supporters of the bill cite both safety and economic benefits as reasons to permit autonomous vehicles.

“Developing and deploying autonomous vehicles will not only save lives, it will create jobs. California is uniquely positioned to be the global leader in this field”, said Senator Alex Padilla of the state, which is also home to Silicon Valley.

Above: GM's take on autonomous vehicles of the future.
Above: GM's take on autonomous vehicles of the future.

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