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State of the Bay

Driverless Cars in California


Google's self-driving cars have been seen all over Bay Area roads for several years, but now that California has passed SB 1298, autonomous vehicles could become a reality here much faster than many people have predicted. Will these 'driverless' cars prevent some of the 5 million motor accidents in the United States by eliminating human error and distraction? How will manufacturers resolve the safety and liability issues related to autonomous vehicles? What about the privacy concerns about the data that self driving cars will collect?


Dr. Maarten Sierhuis is the Director of the Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley, and is leading the Center's research efforts in the areas of autonomous driving, connected cars and human-machine interaction. Dr. Sierhuis has more than 25 years experience in research and development in areas including artificial intelligence and software and hardware engineering. Dr. Sierhuis is a Fellow with the Interactive Intelligence group at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Dr. Bernard Soriano is the Deputy Director for the California Department of Motor Vehicles. He has over 25 years of engineering and management experience in the private sector and public sector. He has previously held engineering and management positions at Hughes Space and Communications, Inc. in Los Angeles, and has taught courses at California State University, Sacramento in engineering and business administration. Bernard is overseeing the implementation of SB 1298 for the DMV by drafting the regulations that will govern the manufacture and sale of autonomous vehicles in California.

Bryant Walker Smith: Bryant writes, speaks, and teaches on the legal and policy aspects of increasing automation at Stanford Law School. He is a member of the New York Bar and a former transportation engineer who has worked on infrastructure issues in the United States and throughout Europe. He has taught a law school course on this topic and recently released a white paper concluding that self-driving cars are probably legal under existing law.

Brad Templeton: Brad is currently chair of Computing & Networks at Singularity University, and a director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading cyberspace civil rights foundation. He advises Google's team developing self-driving cars, and writes about such cars at robocars.com. He is the founder of ClariNet Communications Corp, the world's first "dot-com" company.