Starting in September, the California DMV will begin issuing special licenses for driverless vehicles and their human test pilots/passengers. The news means Google's chrome-plated future, wherein robot cars are widely available and no one ever crashes, is right on schedule.
Governor Jerry Brown, long known for driving himself to work in a Plymouth, is a fan of letting Google take the wheel — back in 2012, he stepped out of a driverless Prius alongside Google's chief Glass spokesmodel Sergey Brin and declared the ride the "only way to go." At the time, Brown told the press the California DMV would be issuing licenses to human-supervised robot cars by 2015.
The new licenses will officially legalize self-driving vehicles like Google's fleet of Priuses and Lexuses that have now logged some 700,000 miles in test runs, including shuttling some Google employees to work in something other than a bus. The licenses will only cost $150 and will cover up to 10 vehicles and 20 test drivers. According to the DMV's license terms only designated employees of select vehicle manufacturers can apply. Google, of course, has the most high-profile robo-fleet, but it seems we're still a long ways off from Sergey Brin's dream of hands-free driving for everyone.
Some of the other terms of the licenses include a mandatory $5 million insurance policy and operators must have been normal, licensed drivers for at least three years with no more than one point on their license.
In case you're wondering what it's like to actually ride in one, Google sent a flotilla of tech reporters on free rides around Mountain View earlier this month, resulting in a flurry of blog posts. On the flip side, here's what a robot car sees right before it decides to not run you over:
Previously: Video: Here's What A Google Robot Car Sees Right Before It Decides Not To Run You Over
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