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California Greenlights Testing Of Driverless Cars

This could open the road to wider adoption of autonomous vehicles.

[Image: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson]

In Mountain View, California, home of Google and all its quirky tech, it's not uncommon to see moving cars without anyone commanding the steering wheel. Come this fall, residents in the state might notice more autonomous vehicles on the road.

California's Department of Motor Vehicles has approved regulation effective September 16 that will allow auto manufacturers that have secured the proper permits to test driverless cars on public roads, potentially spurring the market for autonomous vehicles.

Even though car companies will test autonomous capabilities, the regulation mandates the presence of an autonomous vehicle test-driver, an authorized person with the proper class of license who can take physical control of the car at any time.

In addition, to safeguard against any potential mishaps, manufacturers are required to provide evidence of financial responsibility of $5 million in insurance or a surety bond in the event testing results in property damage, personal injury, or death.