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California Begins Issuing Permits for Testing of Self-Driving Cars

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Testing of self-driving cars has been going on in a number of states for a while, but government regulations are now starting to catch up to the nascent industry. California on Tuesday finally enacted a measure requiring manufacturers to get a special testing permit and show compliance with a number of safety and insurance requirements. "Testing on public roads is one step to developing this technology, and the DMV is excited in facilitating the advancement of autonomous vehicles in California," said the state's Department of Motor Vehicles director, Jean Shiomoto, in a press release.

California isn't the first state to regulate autonomous vehicles or require permits, but it's by far the largest — and is, of course, home to companies like Google that are deeply invested in the technology. Audi, however, was the first company to receive a California permit. "Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness," Audi of America President Scott Keogh said in a statement. Obtaining the first permit "shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier," he said.

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