This article was published on March 18, 2016

Google: If self-driving cars can pass federal safety tests they should be legal

Google: If self-driving cars can pass federal safety tests they should be legal
Bryan Clark
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Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Today, Google laid out a proposal to top transportation officials outlining a solution to its number one roadblock, federal guidelines.

Google has been testing its self-driving technology for years now and racked up nearly 1.5 million miles of automated drive time with just one minor accident (caused by the car) in that timeframe. The argument is essentially that Google has proven its concept and that the car is a safer driver than humans. Existing (or additional) regulations, at this point, are just slowing progress.

In a letter sent to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox, Google’s self-driving car project lead Chris Urmson floated the idea of a federal fast track for the technology, a plan he presented in front of the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday.

In the plan, Urmson argues any autonomous vehicle that could pass federal safety regulations should be legal.

The proposal states that government officials could set additional conditions limiting use based on safety concerns, but would be required to review the application in a “tight but realistic” time frame thus avoiding the typical rule-making process, which often takes several years.

Tight regulations are necessary, but the truth is, we could be 30 years away from a self-driving car on public roads anyway, so it’s probably a wash.

Google gives federal plan for self-driving car [San Jose Mercury News]

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