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Consumer advocate, self-driving car researcher debate CA DMV’s proposed rules for autonomous vehicles

A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters.
A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California is the car capital of the world. It’s also becoming the self-driving car capital of the world.

Companies from Google to Tesla have used the Golden State as their base to produce and test their autonomous vehicles.The technology is still being fine-tuned, but municipalities and states have already begun thinking about road rules for these vehicles. Naturally, California is at the forefront of these efforts.

The CA DMV in December released a set of rules for self-driving cars and this month the agency is held two workshops in Northern and Southern California on the proposal, which would require, among other things, that a person is behind the wheel at all times despite the fact that the car could operate on its own.

Google has already said if these rules are adopted, the company will likely pull out of California, but consumer advocates say that these rules are exactly what we need to protect drivers and pedestrians.


John M. Simpson, Privacy Project director at Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica   

Brad Templeton, software architect and board member of Electronic Frontier Foundation. He consulted on Google’s team designing a driverless car and is an expert on the technology