Driverless cars get green light in California

California has a new set of regulations on the books that govern the testing of self-driving cars on public roads.

The rules, approved this week by state attorneys, will take effect Sept. 16. They require a human with a valid driver's license to be in the driver's seat and capable of taking wheel at any moment.

The companies will be required to keep track of any time the autonomous driving function fails or is disengaged for safety reasons, and report those issues to state regulators.

There are also new rules governing permits for driverless cars and requiring $5 million in insurance in case anything goes wrong. Any accident that results in property damage or injury must reported to state officials.

These new regulations follow a state law passed in 2012 to allow personal use of self-driving cars in 2015 if they were proven safe.

Google has been developing autonomous vehicles since 2009, and aims to make them available by 2017. It's facing competition from established car manufacturers including Audi, GM, Ford, Nissan and Volvo, which are also working on self-driving technology.

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