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One Giant Leap for Self-Driving Cars in California

California regulators approved new rules for autonomous vehicles, shifting the required human backup from behind the wheel to a remote location.
February 27, 2018, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Vladyslav Starozhylov

"Self-driving cars with no human backup behind the wheel will be legal on California roads for testing and transporting the public starting April 2," reports Ethan Baron. "Robot cars have been allowed on the state’s public roads for testing since September 2014, but a safety driver behind the wheel has been required."

The cars will still have a backup—a remotely located human described as a "remote operator" to monitor the car. According to a separate article by Johana Bhuiyan, remote operators "must also be able to communicate with law enforcement as well as the passengers in the event of an accident."

Bhuiyan also reports that the new rules for self-driving cars in California takes a step toward profitability for companies racing into a new market. The need for remote operators of any capacity also ensures new forms of employment to replace the jobs that will surely be lost when autonomous vehicles finally take the road at a large scale.

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Published on Monday, February 26, 2018 in The Mercury News
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