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California: Self-driving cars must have driver behind wheel

2015-12-17 08:27

SAFETY FIRST: California unveiled precedent-setting draft rules that would slow the public's access to self-driving cars of the future until regulators are confident the technology is safe. Image: AP / Eric Risberg

Los Angeles - California regulators say self-driving cars of the future must have a licensed driver behind the wheel, at least until the technology is proven safe.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled precedent-setting draft regulations Wednesday. They will help frame how regulators elsewhere give consumers access to the cars.

Though no manufacturer has said the cars are ready yet, some suggest a model could be ready within a few years.

California's proposed rules will slow the public deployment of the cars. They are subject to public comment and will not be final for months.

Regulators have struggled with how to know the technology is safe — before letting it move beyond the current testing of prototypes on public roads. As a result, the regulations are nearly a year overdue.

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