California May be Next to Legislate Autonomous Cars

California May be Next to Legislate Autonomous Cars

California seems to be the next in line to legislate standards for autonomous vehicles after California Sen. Alex Padilla took a ride to the state capital to introduce a new bill.

He took that ride in one of Google’s autonomous Toyota Prius fleet vehicles and seemed wowed by the trip.

“It was pretty amazing when Google’s vehicle went into self-driving mode,” he said. “The drive was smooth and safe. It worked flawlessly,” he said to Autopia.

The bill wouldn’t specifically legalize self-driving cars, which already have a presence on California roads among other states. Instead, it would follow in Nevada’s footsteps to establish regulations and standards to tell law enforcement how to treat this technology.

The senator sees opportunity for California as a home for autonomous car development and as such, seems enthusiastic to put the framework in place to encourage such progress.

“California is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in this field,” he said.

Several projects have already, or are currently taking place in California to develop autonomous cars, including Google’s fleet which claims more than 200,000 total miles of autonomous driving between the vehicles. In 2010 Volkswagen worked with Stanford University to develop an Audi TTS capable of climbing Pike’s Peak driverless, home of the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb.

Padilla’s bill is specifically targeted at fully autonomous cars, meaning vehicles that self-park or feature adaptive cruise control won’t be affected.