Self-Driving Cars from Google: Update

You may remember Want Driving Lessons reporting on Google’s plans on a self driving car for the masses earlier in the year…

Although initial plans were for there to be just two buttons in the new self driving car- ‘Stop’ and ‘Go’. But there have been new rules from the California department of motor vehicles (DMV).  Google will have to reintroduce a steering wheel as well as a brake pedal as essential parts of these self driving cars.

The rules come into force around mid-September and set out safety procedures all car manufacturers must adopt before rolling out the cars from the production line. Included in the regulations are procedures for reporting all accidents. Then there are the licensing requirements for each vehicle, an insurance bond against accidents and limitations on who exactly will be allowed to test the vehicles themselves.

Needless to say that the cars will need human drivers in the driver’s seat. Although the cars will be technically driving themselves, the driver should be able to take “immediate control” of the car if needed.

“With the additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary,” a Google spokeswoman said to the Wall Street Journal.

There are a lot of other things that will need to be taken into consideration a long time before the self-driving cars are a main feature on our roads. For a start there is the testing of these cars. The California DMV will also be charging Google a set amount for a ‘testing’ license so their drivers will be able to do this within safe parameters through a number of urban and rural areas in the U.S.A

But on the topic of ‘driverless’ car licenses- there will need to be proper investigating into changing the current licenses so that they can successfully accommodate these self-driving cars.

The new rules being put into place will ask that test drivers are more qualified than an average driver. They will have to “been licensed to drive a motor vehicle for the three years immediately preceding application to the department”. Prospective candidates will have had no more than one point on their drivers license and never been involved as a driver in a road traffic accident when someone was injured. Needless to say that thy wil have not been directly involved in a drunk driving incident in the last decade.

As the ‘on-the-road testing’ of these cars arrives, more and more information about the testing and other conditions of the prototypes are being made public. In particular how the cars will operate.

At present the test cars can only reach a total speed of 25mph. However, this is only for the purposes of development and the road safety tests. The lead software engineer at Google told Reuters that there is another version of the car that can be programmed to drive up to 10mph faster.

Although these developments in self-driving cars are exciting- the future of Google cars depends a great deal on how these tests go. 

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