California drivers could soon see cars on the road driving themselves, courtesy of Google and the state government.
On Tuesday at Google's headquarters, the governor of
"It's significant because
Technically, cars that drive themselves are not illegal, because there is no law that says cars must have drivers. The Google cars have been driving on
But Google - along with other companies and research institutions developing such technology - wants to make the cars explicitly legal.
"Because it's going to look strange to a sheriff driving by, and to remove uncertainty, what they want is a pronouncement that yes, it's O.K. to be driving cars around here without a driver," Mr. Calo said.
Google has been heavily lobbying lawmakers in
In addition to building the cars, which operate using computers, sensors and cameras, Google services like maps could be part of the cars. (Maybe that is why Google is dragging its feet on announcing a new maps app for the iPhone.)
"I think Google's endgame is more about how they can be software as a service for the entire driverless car industry," Mr. Calo said.
In a statement on Tuesday, Google said, "Self-driving cars have the potential to significantly increase driving safety." The statement congratulated the Legislature "for building a thoughtful framework to enable safe, ongoing testing of the technology and to anticipate the needs and best interests of