Google drove hard to get driverless-car law

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Google drove hard to get driverless-car law

Four years ago, the Google team developing cars that can drive themselves became convinced that the company needed to spearhead efforts to legalize driverless cars before the technology was full developed.
A few obstacles

Regulatory
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has until the end of the year to finalize rules for the public’s use of driverless cars (there is a 180-day lag between then and when a car might be permitted to hit the road). That’s plenty of time for regulators to include requirements that manufacturers consider onerous, and thus delay the debut of a driverless car. Safety is a paramount concern. How does the DMV know that a car’s computers can’t be commandeered by a hacker? More fundamentally, how does the DMV know that the car drives safely under a range of conditions?
Business
This week, Google said it plans to make 100 prototype driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals, and hopes to let select Californians use them once they have been tested for safety. But those cars have just two seats and max out at 25 mph. It’s unlikely that Google will start mass producing full-sized driverless cars, at least not any time soon. While major automakers are accelerating the development of self-driving technology, none has publicly discussed the release of a fully driverless car before 2020.
Technological
So far, Google has taken Toyota Priuses and Lexus SUVs and outfitted them with cameras, radar and laser sensors, and computers – all to see and react to other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Those vehicles have driven more than 700,000 miles.
But the cars are far from perfect. Google isn’t fully confident they can drive themselves in rain or fog – and they’ve never driven in snow. And they only can go on roads or freeways that Google has charted in far greater detail than the maps found on its public site.

Google drove hard to get driverless-car law

Four years ago, the Google team developing cars that can drive themselves became convinced that the company needed to spearhead efforts to legalize driverless cars before the technology was full developed.
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