Since 2014, Google has planned to release self driving cars to the public as early as 2016. The company has been testing on its autonomous cars on the Californian roads since then and it is reported that there were 17 collisions so far. In total Google has done over 2.2 million miles of testing with nearly 1.3 million miles in self driving mode.
With one year before the expected release date, Google seems to be ready except for one thing, the road rules for self driving car. Apparently, the Department of Motor Vehicles have the authority to do so. Before Google is granted the permission to release its self driving car on to California public roads for the public to use, the company needs to prove that these cars are ready to drive as safely as people.
It seems that there are some complicated questions regarding the technology which cannot be answered yet. Question such as if self driving cars installed with advanced sensors and computing power able to drive better than humans; is steering wheel and pedals still needed? Is a person even needed to be inside the car? Google’s answer to both these questions are no.
Google has tested a total of 73 self driving cars among the 98 test vehicles that were granted permission to be tested on public roads by California’s DMV. The company is seen to also have been pressing California’s DMV to publish the self driving car regulation harder than any other automakers who also making self driving cars.
Google representatives are seen to constantly checking on the DMV and California State Transportation Agency on the status of the rules, flying State official from Sacramento to Silicon Valley for test rides as well as sending technical experts and lobbyists to the capital for briefings about regulation writing.