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The Department of Transportation Not Yet Ready for the Google Car

The Department of Transportation Not Yet Ready for the Google Car

The Google car may be considered the car of the future, but it seems that the world is not yet ready for it. A preliminary report recently released by the US Department of Transportation with regard to self-driving cars revealed that the federal government is not yet ready to certify or regulate the self-driving car prototype developed by Google or any other similar vehicles.

The report indicated that self-driving vehicles which turn out to push the boundaries of conventional vehicles would actually be constrained by federal motor vehicle safety standards. The issue emerges from the fact that regulations define these standards based on the assumption that vehicles come with a steering wheel, foot pedals and a rear visibility.

However, regulators might be in the situation of having to think how to regulate cars that might come without these features and could actually even come with seats designed like a lounge, which could even be faced backwards. And it seems that they are already assuming that such vehicles will not be far away from the market.

So, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is said to be working to stay up to the challenges that new technologies, such as the ones developed by Google, are bringing to the market. The Department of Transportation, in January 2016, started working to develop some operational guidelines which would be able to determine how automated vehicle technology will be tested, but also regulated.

These guidelines can turn out to be quite important, keeping under consideration the fact that some companies, including of course Google, but also Daimler, are currently testing self-driving car technology and their vehicles are on the roads. This has determined the state of California, for instance, to develop some rules that govern the way these tests are conducted. 

However, the need for a general and complex approach is needed. California state at the moment bans the use of fully autonomous vehicles, exactly what Google plans on putting on the roads. This means that the legislation requires a licensed operator to be present inside the vehicle. However, some newly developed guidelines could help California, or other states, better regulate these aspects without stopping technology advancements.

Furthermore, as the interest for this is quite big, the Department of Transportation stated that it planned on releasing the new guidelines by the end of July. This means that in a couple of months, autonomous vehicles might get the first step to regulation. The department stated that it would hold two public hearings for feedback.

Regulators have already made an important step on this matter, as last month the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority claimed that artificial intelligence systems that control self-driving vehicles can be considered drivers under federal law. This was a huge win for Google and its self-diving car.

Google wants its self-driving car to be available for purchases by 2020. This means that regulatory bodies need to step up and decide on the regulations that will govern such vehicles.
The Department of Transportation Not Yet Ready for the Google Car Reviewed by Maric Derek on 3/13/2016 04:05:00 PM Rating: 5

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