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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Green light by lawmakers for driverless cars



The Senate passed Rep. Jeff Brandes and Sen. Joe Negron's measure allowing driver-less cars on Friday, sending the Google-oriented bill (HB 1207) to Gov. Rick Scott for approval.

The otherwise non-controversial bill required a little more work than its sci-fi visuals and unanimous votes of support suggest.

Auto manufacturers slowed it, and the lawmakers worked out an amendment seven days ago that exempts manufacturers from liability on a retro-fitted vehicle if an injury happens due to the conversion or adding the equipment to move the bill.

Google has been developing the automated vehicles for several years, and Brandes pushed the bill saying it could save lives. The bill allows operating and testing on Florida roads. The broader public use is probably 10 to 15 years away, but Brandes said the new law would allow developers to use Florida to create vehicles that will travel safely and more intelligently, reducing demands on roads.

"I feel if you think about the longterm implications, this will allow us to cut down our auto accidents in half," said Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.


[Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 1:29pm]


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