After the California DMV published draft regulations outlining how the public may use self-driving cars last week, Google has stated that it is “perplexed” by the regulations, arguing that they do not allow the technology to reach its full potential.
The proposed regulations require a fully licensed driver behind the wheel of a self-driving car. In addition, though there are truly driverless cars available that do not have manual controls such as steering wheels and pedals, the self-driving cars used by the public are required to have manual controls so drivers can use the controls in an event of an emergency.
The director of Google’s self-driving cars says that the proposed law “maintains the same status quo” and excludes those who need to get around but cannot drive. First, in terms of safety, Google argues that self-driving cars are much safer than traditional cars because they eliminate human error which causes a majority of car accidents. Google’s driverless cars have been in testing for six years, and there have only been 16 minor incidents with human error in other vehicles to blame.
Second, people who truly need driverless cars, such as those with vision problems, epilepsy or other health conditions that prevent them from driving, are once again left to depend on others toget around.
Other Car Manufacturers Catching Up with Google
Though Google has been the front runner in developing and testing self-driving cars for over 5 years now, other car manufacturers have been developing driverless cars as well. Mercedes and Audi entered the self-driving car arena in September 2014 when the California DMV issued permits for the auto makers to test their self-driving cars. Recently, Ford announced that it too obtained a permit to test its self-driving cars.
Concerns Regarding Autonomous Cars
Though self-driving cars are a great technological advancement, there are also concerns. How will auto insurance companies deal with car accidents and liability? For instance, what is a driver’s liability if the car was involved in a car accident when it was in the self-driving mode? When the car is in self-driving mode, can the driver text on his cell phone? There are a lot of questions that legislatures will have to deal with.
Though having self-driving cars seemed far-fetched not so long ago, it seems autonomous cars are going to be available to the public sooner than we think.
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*Source: www.bbc.com (Driverless car rules perplexing, says Google)