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    Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, has announced legislation (S.4912) allowing the testing and operation of autonomous (self-driving) cars on the roads of New York state.

    “Vehicle accidents, year after year, always rank in the leading causes of death in New York state and across the United States,” Ball said. “This is a tremendous advancement in automobile technology, the future is here.”

    The autonomous cars are being designed and tested by Toyota in conjunction with Google navigation technologies that use a system of laser along with GPS technology to successfully maneuver cars down the road. The goal is to curb the number of car accidents and create steady traffic flow that isn’t dependant on human control or subject to human error.

    Three states — California, Florida and Nevada — have introduced similar legislation allowing the operation of autonomous cars.

    Toyota’s goals are to eliminate future traffic deaths and injuries and to provide people with a new era of advanced safety and technology. By implementing these new technologies, Toyota hopes to improve a driver’s decision-making process, safety skills and perception of their environment.

    In 2011, over 300,000 car accidents occurred in New York alone resulting in 1,077 deaths and car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among U.S. teens. One-in-six accident deaths are attributed to distracted driving.

    “I have introduced this bill because I believe that New York state should welcome this technology with open arms,” Ball said.

    As of now, the autonomous car has recorded over 500,000 test miles with only one accident. The tests have shown that the car has a faster reaction time than a car operated by a human driver. A report on the progress of the autonomous car is expected to be presented to both the Governor and the New York state Legislature by February 2015.

    The bill has been held in the Transportation Committee since May 1. (ARTICLE)