Growing up I was always fascinated by science fiction movies and television, particularly because they showed off the possibility of technology to come. Though many ideas seemed like pipe dreams, there was always that What if? factor that I latched on to.

So you can imagine my excitement when I read about Google’s development of autonomous cars. (Robot cars!) To further that excitement, I just learned that California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has signed a bill that will allow these autonomous cars to drive along the state’s roads, right alongside vehicles driven by humans. (!!)

Of course, the caveat is that a human driver must be present in these autonomous cars, to take over in the event of a malfunction. But this is an amazing step in the advancement of ground transportation. Just think about it: autonomous cars could conceivably, one day, help bring an end to (or at least greatly reduce) traffic jams, accidents, and other driving hazards.

This brings us one step closer toward this amazing future.

Joshua Pramis is the social media editor at Travel + Leisure and geeks out over cool innovations on a regular basis. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis