Florida meets the Jetsons as Legislature paves way for 'Google Car'

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Representative Jeff Brandes and Senator Joe Negron have been working hard to make the sci-fi fantasy of driver-less cars a reality in a bill (HB 1207) passed unanimously by the Senate Friday. It’s now up to Governor Rick Scott to approve, although the public won’t see an opportunity to make use of the technology for another 10-15 years.

“I feel if you think about the long-term implications, this will allow us to cut down our auto accidents in half,” said Brandes.

While legislators may have been enthusiastic in passing this bill, driverless cars are not everyone’s favorite idea. In fact, auto manufacturers, less than pleased about the concept, were successful in slowing the bill. Yet, lawmakers met these objections with an amendment, exempting manufacturers from liability on a retro-fitted vehicle if an injury happens due to conversion or adding equipment, and thus, the bill moved along.

The Tampa Bay Times reports, “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.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.