The Google Self Driving Cars Software Was Classified As a Driver
The US government managed to convince the US government that the computers of the tech company are more qualified to be defined as drivers than humans. The Google self driving cars software was classified as a driver by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and this is a highly important step in the mass-production of self-driving vehicles in the future.
On a more conceptual level this ruling is amazing because it is an instance in which a federal agency considers a computer capable of making the complex decisions that only human beings were thought to be able to do.
Google (or Alphabet as is the name of the larger company) had questions about the rules that had to be abided with their autonomous vehicles. Does such a car need an occupant in the driver seat? The response was that the actual driver is the computer so no occupant is needed. Such a ruling will lead to a change of the way traditional vehicles are thought of and designed as well as change the way we think about driving.
So far the Google tested their prototypes over more than one million miles through California, Texas and Washington. Their latest model doesn’t even have a steering wheel and a brake lever and they aren’t the only ones experimenting with this kind of vehicles since Tesla, Toyota, General Motors and even Uber are providing the competition.
The NHTSA thinks that the self driving cars will prevent the future deaths caused by vehicle crashes which reach 30,000 each year in the US alone. With this idea in mind, the White House has a budget of $4 billion for the next ten years dedicated to promote the development of self driving cars and the UK seems to be following the same trend. London’s transport officials are in discussions with Google to bring self driving cars on their public roads and they are already doing tests there.
It is difficult to estimate when these vehicles would be available on the streets, but such a ruling makes things look really optimistic and that would probably lead to a bit less stress in our lives as well as some extra time on our hands.