If you happen to pass an Audi on the road, don't panic if there's no one behind the wheel. On Tuesday, the German car company received the first California permit to test self-driving cars in the state. Now the LA Times reports that its A7 autonomous car will begin testing immediately in the San Francisco area.
The permit comes from the California DMV, allowing driverless vehicles to test on public roads. Mercedes-Benz and Google also obtained permits this week, as SFGate reports.
The new law was authored by Sen. Alex Padilla and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, and it requires the companies carry a minimum of $5 million in property and personal injury insurance for each autonomous vehicle, have a licensed (human) driver assigned to the car who can take over in an emergency, and report any emergencies, should they occur, or accidents. Michigan, Florida, and Nevada are also allowing similar testing.
Audi tells Mashable that they're starting with two self-driving A7s, which will come from the company's Electronics Research Labs in Belmont, but they plan to put two more on the road soon. Google, which has been testing fleets on the private roads of its Mountain View campus for some time, has registered 27 driverless Lexus SUVs, according to SFGate.
Check out the driverless Audi A7 in action in the video below.