Science fiction was driven a bit closer to reality when California's governor rode in an autonomous car to sign legislation clearing the way for driverless vehicles in the state.
Jerry Brown arrived at the headquarters of Google, which has been developing the driverless technology and calling for new regulations, in a self-driving Toyota Prius.
Under Democratic senator Alex Padilla's bill, signed by Mr Brown, California will introduce performance and safety rules to enable driverless vehicles to be tested and driven in the state.
Google says its 12 computer-operated models have clocked up over 300,000 miles without an accident and although car loans for such vehicles are still a long way off it is predicting they will be much safer than ones driven by people.
Following his journey the governor said: "Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality. Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish but they'll get over it."
Google's co-founder Sergey Brin said he believed computer-controlled vehicles could dramatically improve people's quality of life by cutting congestion, improving road safety and opening up independent road travel to disabled and elderly people who are unable to drive themselves.
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