Honda gets California approval for self-driving cars on roads

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — Honda Motor Co. has received a permit from the state of California to drive its autonomous vehicles on public streets, joining companies ranging from Google Inc. to Volkswagen AG in testing the fast-growing technology.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles on its website listed Honda as the most recent of 10 companies that had received the self-driving permits as of Friday.

Other companies already approved include Daimler AG’s Mercedes Benz, Tesla Motors Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and BMW AG.

Honda, which is deploying advanced driver-assistance systems across its Honda and Acura models, is one of many carmakers investing in self-driving technology. Some, including Tesla and BMW, already offer semi-autonomous features.

The Japanese carmaker already has a secure autonomous vehicle testing facility in Concord, Calif., northeast of San Francisco, where such cars could get a test run before on-road testing, a spokesman said.

California is one of a handful of states, along with Michigan, Florida and Nevada, that have passed legislation enabling testing of self-driving cars on public roads.

Google and other automotive manufacturers and suppliers have said the technology to build self-driving cars should be ready by 2020.

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