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Feds updating self-driving car policy guidance; goal is encouraging public use

LOS ANGELES — Federal transportation officials are updating their position on self-driving cars, with an eye toward getting the emerging technology into the public's hands.

Just two years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation struck a cautious tone. Its official policy statement still says the cars should be limited to testing.

Google and several traditional automakers have been doing just that — running prototypes equipped with a suite of sensors and cameras around public streets and highways, mostly in California.

Those cars must have someone behind the wheel, ready to take over.

Google has advocated spreading the technology, once the tech titan concludes its cars are safe.

Now, transportation department spokeswoman Suzanne Emmerling says that with rapid development of the technology, federal policy is being revised.

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Contact Justin Pritchard at http://twitter.com/lalanewsman .

Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press

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