- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The latest on the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ draft regulations that would allow consumers to get self-driving cars (all times local):

2 p.m.

Texas is already reminding Google that self-driving cars are welcome after California released draft regulations that the tech titan calls disappointing.

Austin is the only place where Google is testing the vehicles outside California. A spokesman for Austin Mayor Steve Adler says the city is “thrilled” to host to such innovations and says local leaders believe self-driving vehicles are safe.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles doesn’t have that confidence just yet. New precedent-setting rules released Wednesday would require a licensed driver behind the wheel once self-driving cars are ready for the public.

Those restrictions could steer manufacturers elsewhere to develop the technology. Texas has no obvious restrictions on self-driving vehicles, and Google has lobbied to keep it that way.

Google believes cars without anyone inside would be legal now on Texas roads.

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12:45 p.m.

Tech giant Google has some harsh words about draft rules governing how consumers would get access to self-driving cars in its home state.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled the framework Wednesday. It would require a licensed driver behind the wheel once the agency is satisfied self-driving cars are safe.

Company spokesman Johnny Luu says Google, which has led development of the technology, is “gravely disappointed” by the rules, which will limit Google’s ability to deploy the cars as quickly as it would like.

California’s proposed rules are subject to public comment and will not be final for months.

The DMV has struggled with how to know the technology is safe - before letting it move beyond the current testing of prototypes on public roads.

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11 a.m.

A consumer group is applauding California regulators for draft rules that require a licensed driver be behind the wheel once self-driving cars are ready for the public.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled the precedent-setting rules Wednesday. They will help frame how regulators elsewhere give consumers access to the cars.

John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog, approves of the DMV’s cautious approach. He says the technology hasn’t been proven safe and it makes good sense to require a driver at the ready, as well as other safety certifications from manufacturers and an independent tester.

Simpson expects the industry to push back on the draft rules, which are subject to public comment and will not be final for months.

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10 a.m.

California regulators say self-driving cars of the future must have a licensed driver behind the wheel, at least until the technology is proven safe.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled precedent-setting draft regulations Wednesday. They will help frame how regulators elsewhere give consumers access to the cars.

Though no manufacturer has said the cars are ready yet, the most aggressive suggest a model could be ready within a few years.

California’s proposed rules will slow the public deployment of the cars. They are subject to public comment and will not be final for months.

The DMV has struggled with how to know the technology is safe - before letting it move beyond the current testing of prototypes on public roads. As a result, the regulations are nearly a year overdue.

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