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Sen. Ball Pushes For Testing Self-Driving Cars In State

New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R-District 40) is introducing legislation to test self-driving cars in the state.
New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R-District 40) is introducing legislation to test self-driving cars in the state. Photo Credit: Flickr user Zack Sheppard

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The self-driving vehicles seen in the classic animated television series " The Jetsons" might not be pure fantasy with new legislation sponsored by state Sen. Greg Ball (R-40th District) heading to Albany to test autonomous cars in the state, according to a release on Ball's website .

Ball, who included a picture of the famous futuristic television cartoon family in the release, said that the legislation will allow Toyota in partnership with Google, to test autonomous vehicles on New York roadways to provide the safe development of this technology.

“This is a tremendous advancement in automobile technology, the future is here,” Ball said in the release. “Vehicle accidents, year after year, always rank in the leading causes of death in New York State and across the United States. In the early testing stages this futurist technology has proven to be safer and more reliable than human operated vehicles. I  have introduced this bill because I believe that New York State should welcome this technology with open arms.”

The basics of the Google technology equipped into these vehicles relies on a system of lasers and GPS to maneuver the car down the roadways, according to the release Three other states have introduced legislation to allow the testing of autonomous vehicles: California, Florida and Nevada.

If the legislation passes, Toyota would lead the project with Google to test the cars in New York.

"Toyota Motor Corporation’s goal is to eliminate future traffic fatalities and injuries, and with this goal in mind, Toyota is working to lead the industry into a new era of advanced active-safety and autonomous technologies," a Toyota representative said in a statement. "Toyota believes integrating these advanced technologies will enhance the driver’s decision-making process, overall safety skills, and perception of his or her environment. All leading to a safer and easier driving experience.”

The autonomous car has recorded more than 500,000 miles with only one incident. The accident occurred while a human driver was behind the wheel, and another vehicle struck the car. Tests on these vehicles have shown they have a better reaction time than their counterparts with human drivers.

A report on the progress of the autonomous car which will be presented to the governor as well as the New York State Legislature, is expected by February 2015.

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