California Raises Concerns over Google’s Self-driving Car

Google's Self-driving car. Photo obtained from Google's official blog site.

Google’s Self-driving car. Photo obtained from Google’s official blog site.

As Google’s driverless car makes its way to hit the California roadways by decade’s end, the Golden state raises several concerns in an aim to properly regulate said vehicle.

According to news reports, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) held an initial public hearing last March 11, where it raised several concerns over the search engine giant’s self-driving car or often called as the autonomous car.

Obviously, since Google car’s technology is young and new, DMV is still in the process of figuring out how to regulate the public’s use of autonomous vehicles.

The Self-driving Car

Before we proceed, let us have a quick introduction of the driverless car.

A self-driving car is packed with the newest technologies, which include radar and laser sensors, video cameras, and artificial-intelligence software. Google is the first visible company to put the concept into reality while several automakers are also on the verge of producing such vehicles.

In fact, after Google launched its fleet of Prius and Lexus cars fitted with an array of the automated technology for road test, several major automakers also have sent their own models for roadway testing.

Now, let us move on to the concerns raised by the DMV and other automakers during the meeting:

Safety

Literally, self-driving car requires no driver to operate the car but the DMV isn’t apparently confident with the idea. Thus, in a previous bill approved by the state back in 2012, it requires a human driver to be behind the wheel to take charge in case something went wrong. So far, the agency is yet to decide whether the vehicle really needs to have a human driver behind the wheel when in motion.

Also, Google’s safety director for its autonomous vehicle project, Rod Medford, has suggested other manufacturers to self-certify that their cars are safe.

Liability

DMV wants to determine who would ensure that owners are quite familiar on how to operate the new technology. However, manufacturers refused to take the responsibility as they suggested that they shouldn’t be asked to guaranty the capability of owners. One, manufacturer representative suggested DMV to conduct a test to owners on basics in operating the technology.

Privacy

Since current California law requires autonomous vehicles to log records of operation so the data could be used to reconstruct an accident, a representative from a non-profit consumer watchdog voiced out his concern about the owners being tracked in their daily lives.

Incidentally, in a legislation passed back in 2012, privacy issues weren’t pushed. Even during the meeting, Google’s representative still keeps mum over the data privacy issue.

Integration

Since the advent of self-driving cars is fast approaching, DMV wants to decide on how to integrate the high-technology cars with the other vehicles onto public roadways.

Regulation

Automakers also didn’t help but to raise concerns about regulations. They worry that other states could pass regulations that were far different from California but the DMV confirmed that other states have already contacted them and were closely observing California’s rule-making process.

Moreover, manufacturers and Google have argued that development of the technology would be restrained if regulations are too oppressive, but DMV claimed that it has remained firm in balancing public safety and private sector innovation when it drafted its rules.

Insurance Rate

The big question about the car insurance rates on autonomous vehicles’ insurance rates is that whether car insurance companies can base its insurance on how the car is driven.

One thought on “California Raises Concerns over Google’s Self-driving Car

  1. Safety is always the number one topic in a discussion about driverless cars. That being said the more safety options the better, so take a look at a video of our BiModal Glideway Dual Mode Transportation System on our website. We can also be found on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

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