Gov. Jerry Brown plans to sign the recently-passed Google robot car bill on Tuesday at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. He’ll share the spotlight with Google co-founder Sergey Brin and assorted local elected officials.
The governor’s office sent out a notice to reporters Monday afternoon. In the event that you can’t make it, or aren’t a member of the media, the ceremony will be livestreamed here at 1 p.m. on the west coast.
The bill just passed the California legislature after a fierce lobbying campaign by Google. The Bay Citizen has a good overview of the resources Google brought to make it legal for their robot cars to be on the streets:
“Disclosure statements filed by Google show that the company repeatedly lobbied the Legislature, the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles from October to July on the issue. During that period, Google paid $140,000 for the lobbying services of Jonathan Ross, from the prominent Sacramento firm KP Public Affairs.
During the 2009-10 legislative session, Google gave campaign contributions totaling $64,000 to 36 members and successful candidates for the state Senate and Assembly. It also gave $25,900 each to Brown and his unsuccessful Republican rival, Meg Whitman. The company has not reported making any campaign contributions during the current election cycle.”
The signing won’t be the, ahem, end of the road for the issue. The DMV must now begin a rule-making process to fill in some of the blanks.
The bill, SB 1298, which was sponsored by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Van Nuys would:
“…allow companies to test self-driven cars on public roads and require the DMV to draft rules governing use of the vehicles by the public. The measure also would define a car’s “operator” as the person sitting in the driver’s seat, or if there’s no one in the driver’s seat, the person who ’causes the autonomous technology to engage.’ “
Here is the Padilla bill: