An Uber self-driving car navigates the streets of San Francisco last year. California was one of the first states to enact rules of the road for vehicles using automation, and others have followed suit. Meanwhile, federal lawmakers have failed to act. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)
SAN RAMON, Calif. — Electronic chimes sounded as the self-driving minibus halted its crawl through the parking lot of an upscale office park here. There was no obvious reason for the stop, so its operator made a note to report it, then used a touch screen to restart the shuttle’s test drive.
The bright red, 12-passenger vehicle, which maxes out at 12 mph and was designed by French firm EasyMile, is part of an effort to use autonomous technology to improve access to transit stations in the area. But first, as the unscheduled stop on a breezy April day showed, the shuttle needs extensive testing to make sure it’s safe for public roads.