An interesting article over at IEEE Spectrum details how Google's autonomous Prius became the first self-driving car to pass a state driving test. Even if it was a special autonomous car test with the route and acceptable weather conditions set by Google. And a Google engineer had to take over. Twice.
Still, this is a pretty impressive achievement, even with those caveats. The car dealt well with pedestrians, crosswalks, stop signs, and even an errant cyclist who swerved in front of the car. It's amazing to think about how far these cars have come since the DARPA Grand Challenges that seemed to be impossible for so many years.
IEEE Spectrum also obtained the actual instructor's notes about the car's performance, and generally, they seem to be impressed. Well, impressed, and maybe a little annoyed at the car's goody-goody, safety-kid nature, as the DMV official wrote
"Perhaps overly cautious approaching some lights."
It's worth reading the full article. This is one of those mundane-yet-important events that will have more significance in the future, I suspect.