In a surprising move the US Government has written a letter to Google which hints that they may me warming to idea of driverless cars on the roads.
Many people are aware that technology companies such as Internet giant Google are investing heavily in the development of driverless car technology.
In the past the US and UK Governments have been reticent to recognise the legality of a driverless car and have deemed any vehicle that is devoid of an effective human driver as being unroadworthy.
However, in a surprising letter to Google from the US National Traffic Safety Administration, specifically in relation to driverless cars they have stated, “It is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving”.
The letter continues by saying “In this instance, an item of motor vehicle equipment, the Self-Driving System, is actually driving the vehicle.”
It has long been Google’s belief that a driverless car is safer than one which is driven by a human. Their aim is to remove controls, such as steering wheel and pedals and thereby eliminating the chance of human control and error.
It is of no surprise that the introduction of driverless technology will cause issues for legislators around the world. Insurers have also been quick to put hurdles in Google’s way. In an effort to combat arguments from the insurers, Google and other development technological companies have stated that they will accept liability for any accidents caused by their driverless cars, in the event the accident was because of the technology and not by human intervention.
No doubt Google will press this point with the US National Traffic Safety Administration to get further and better clarification for their development of driverless technology moving forward. However, with this tentative warming from the US administration we may well be moving from science fiction to science sooner than was originally expected.