Google's Self-Driving Tech Can Be Considered a Driver Under US Law, NHTSA Says

Google's self-driving car prototype 1 photo
Photo: Google
NHTSA has notified Google of the fact that it will consider its self-driving technology for cars as an actual driver under federal law. This marks a breakthrough in the world of autonomous vehicles, where the human occupant of the transport is responsible for the actions of the self-driving car.
The response from NHTSA came on February 4, through a letter hidden deep in the organization’s website. NHTSA officials replied to a Google letter sent on November 12, 2015. Back then, Google politely requested that the NHTSA acknowledge the fact that its self-driving vehicles have “no need for a human driver.”

The NHTSA agreed with Google and issued their response publicly. Their reply is surprising for something as crucial as self-driving cars that could shape the future of transportation.

We agree with Google on the matter that its self-driving car will not have a driver in the conventional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years,” the NHTSA said.

Thanks to the recognition made by the NHTSA, Google’s autonomous cars have stepped into a new era regarding legislation. If US Federal Law recognizes the self-driving system as a driver, the need for a human on board is eliminated once the system receives certification from the organization, Automotive News reports.

The change would mark the possibility of developing a service of ride sharing in which the vehicle would come to you and then drive on to the next customer. Since the car would be considered its driver, the user would not need a driving license.

Imagine what could happen in the world of transportation once these cars hit the roads and become accessible to the average consumer! Since a vehicle would not need a human to drive itself to whatever destination, taxi and Uber drivers could eventually be out of job. After all, Uber is hailed from an app, and some countries have taxi services operated through apps as well. So why not a fully autonomous car that will drive you around whenever you need it?

The idea of car sharing could be radically changed by this system, as a user would no longer have to park the vehicle in a particular location for another person to use it, and owning a car would no longer be necessary for users who only need a vehicle from time to time.

The self-driving technologies developed by Google and other companies are only restricted to what we can think of and the limits of current systems, since technology just got a massive helping hand from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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