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California OKs driverless car testing without backup drivers

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LOS ANGELES — Driverless cars will be tested on California roads for the first time without a human being behind a steering wheel under new rules for the fast-developing technology.

The regulations approved Monday are a major step toward getting autonomous vehicles onto the streets of California, the nation’s self-driving car hub.

Until now, driverless cars could only be tested with human backup drivers who could take over in an emergency.

Manufacturers can apply for permits allowing driverless testing when the regulations go into effect April 2.

The rules approved by California’s Office of Administrative Law also create the framework under which consumers can eventually buy driverless cars.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles says it’s a big boost for regulations that have been in the works for years.

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