Google Car

Feds Approve Google Computers as Autonomous Drivers

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Google Car

One of the biggest hurdles facing autonomous vehicles isn’t perfecting the technology, but getting the government to approve it for our roads. Recent federal approvals have taken us all one step closer to our autonomous futures.

One of the many issues was a requirement that autonomous vehicles still have a driver behind the wheel, even if they’re not actually driving the car. Cars are also required to have a steering wheel and brakes so a human driver can take over if they think the car is making a poor decision.

Companies like Google are none to happy with these requirements as they defeat the whole point of building an autonomous car. They intend to build cars that don’t need drivers so they can be used by anyone, even people who don’t want to drive or simply can’t drive.

The government has come one step closer to embracing Google’s vision by approving the artificial inelligence in Google cars as the driver. Accoding to Reuters, Google sent a proposal to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration back in November detailing why their cars do not need human drivers as backup.

NHTSA agreed and will now see the driver as Google’s artificial intelligence rather than any occupants in the car. It’s a big move and one that stands to increase the pace of autonomous car development. Google is just one of many automakers that is persuing this technology. No one wants to be left behind.

All is not bright and shiny for autonomous cars, however, with NHTSA citing a long list of potential legal issues that will need to be overcome before these cars can hit the road. It all comes back to safety. Rules written with human drivers in mind become a problem when the driver is a computer.

One of the big issues is braking since laws require these systems be activted by foot control. We already have cars on the road with autonomous emergency braking that activate when the driver fails to hit the brakes in time, but it’s a big leap to approve cars to operate this way on a regular basis.

Google’s point of view is quite different. Not only do they want humans removed from the equation, they say it’ll be safer. They believe their cars will make the right decision and that human interaction could prove unsafe.

Autonomous cars will get here eventually, but we’re a long way still from having the government and the automakers agreeing on how it will happen.

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin