Honda gets California approval for self-driving cars on roads

A staff of Honda Motor Co's showroom bows to a visitor as she is reflected in a company logo on a car displayed at company showroom in Tokyo January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd 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 VOWG_p.DE 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 Ltd 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, California, 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.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn