Senator Alex Padilla

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, Calif. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) announced that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued its first permit authorizing Audi of America to test driverless vehicles in California. Senator Padilla authored the law that required regulations governing the testing and use of driverless vehicles on public roads. The standards and regulations become effective today.

“California is the global leader in autonomous technology. Today this technology takes a bold step forward. Driverless vehicles will revolutionize transportation, reduce traffic accidents and save lives. Establishing safety standards for these vehicles is an essential step in that process,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “I applaud the efforts of Audi of America, Google and others who are making this technology a reality,” said Padilla.

Google, Audi, BMW, Ford and GM have been developing autonomous vehicles for several years now. Volkswagen is also working with Stanford University on an autonomous vehicle design. Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicles has logged more than 700,000 test miles on California’s roads and highways to date.

Senator Padilla was an early supporter of the development of autonomous vehicles. He says we have a responsibility to make automobiles safer. Thousands of Californian’s tragically die in auto accidents each year. The vast majority of these collisions are due to human error. Driverless cars will save lives. Padilla rode to the state capitol in a Toyota Prius upgraded with autonomous technology when he announced the introduction of his legislation at the State Capitol in March 2012. California is one of four states that have enacted laws governing the use of autonomous vehicles, the others being Nevada, Florida, and Michigan.

“Autonomous vehicle technology is not science fiction. We are living in the era of Moore’s Law where every two years we double our computer processing speeds. This enables the exponential leaps in advanced technology,” said Padilla. “Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, autonomous technology can analyze the entire 360° driving environment more quickly and accurately and can operate the vehicle more safely than a human driver,” added Padilla.

Jim McBride, a technical expert at Ford Research and Innovation has said, “There is no technology barrier from going where we are now to the autonomous car.”

Many semi-autonomous features are already being deployed in cars and including adaptive cruise control which brakes and accelerates a vehicle with the flow of traffic, front and rear pre-collision braking systems that avoid collisions, lane assist warning systems that alert a driver when the vehicle is drifting out of its lane and self-parking features. Fully autonomous vehicles are the logical next step in automotive technology.

To learn more about California’s autonomous vehicle testing regulations, please visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website:

Senator Alex Padilla, 41, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and just completed serving on the MIT Corporation Board. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles.

Editorial note: text based on news release as provided by Mr. Padilla’s office and is believed correct but not guaranteed.