Self-Driving Cars Ready To Buy In 5 Years Says Sergey Brin

California's governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that legalizes autonomous cars on the state's roads.

(Sergey Brin (right) applauds bill-signing)

The bill, SB 1298, sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-L.A.), establishes safety and performance standards that will be enforced by both the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Highway Patrol. The law requires the DMV to draft regulations for autonomous vehicles by January 1, 2015, and while the vehicles can operate autonomously, a licensed driver is required to be behind the wheel if something goes awry.

California is now the third state to enact autonomous vehicle legislation, following another Google-championed bill that passed in Nevada last February, as well as a Florida law that was approved earlier this year.

The goal of Padilla’s law is to keep California at the forefront of autonomous-vehicle development, and the Governor reiterated that sentiment at today’s event. Google has logged more than 300,000 miles in its fleet of autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids and Lexus RX crossovers, while Stanford has worked with Volkswagen and Audi on autonomous technology in Silicon Valley.

At the event, Brin spoke on the future commercial availability of autonomous cars.

Such "autonomous vehicles" will be a reality for "ordinary people" in less than five years, Google CEO Sergey Brin said on Tuesday.

He also said he thinks autonomous cars will be "far safer" than those driven by humans, and he envisioned a world in which office parking lots become a thing of the past, with cars instead dropping off their owners and driving off to park themselves somewhere else.

SF readers have been looking forward to this tech for a long while. In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein imagined an autonomous car:

The car slid up the ramp, waited until the traffic control signaled a predicted break in traffic, then joined the high-speed northbound stream. Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...

She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...
(Read more about Heinlein's self-driving car)

Via Wired and Computer World.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/27/2012)

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