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California approves cars with no steering wheel, pedals for testing

Self-driving cars inched closer to reality this week (all by themselves).

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    Google's self-driving Lexus car drives along street during a demonstration at Google campus on in Mountain View, Calif.
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Self-driving cars inched closer to reality this week (all by themselves) when the California governor approved a bill that would open small sections of public roads for testing.

California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would make available a section of a former naval weapons facility site and a business park to fully autonomous vehicle testing, according to The Mercury News.

According to the newspaper, the new law only applies to a project spearheaded by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, called GoMentum, and a business park in San Ramon, California. The business park route would include a stretch of road open to the public.

The law includes provisions to keep the self-driving cars under 35 mph and strict reporting requirements for any crashes in the cars.

Already, automakers such as Honda and the Uber-owned Otto are using the Concord site to test autonomous trucks. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz announced it would use the 2,100-acre site to develop its self-driving technology. Apple and Google are also reportedly interested in using the site for their self-driving cars (Google's version shown).

The law is unique because it would let automakers and tech companies test fully self-driving cars—Level 5—that wouldn't need human interaction. No steering wheel, brake or gas pedals would be in the vehicles.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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