California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will allow autonomous vehicles to be tested on California roads. The law however does requires a licensed person to be in the driver’s seat at all times to take over control if need be. One very big winner in this turn of events is Google. The Governor said “Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality — the self-driving car.” The bill was conveniently signed at Google’s Mountain View headquarters.
Google along with carmakers like Ford, Audi, BMW, Toyota and Volvo have been working on autonomous cars for years. It took a technology company such as Google to really get the engines started so to speak. Google has been lobbying for the regulations for years. Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founder said that “Autonomous cars can make roads safer, free commuters from the drudgery of driving, reduce congestion and provide transport to people who can’t drive themselves, such as the blind, disabled, elderly and intoxicated.”
There is never progress without someone trying to hold on dearly to the already established status quo. In this case it’s the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. They have expressed concern that California is moving too quickly. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers feel that before we can embrace self-driving cars, lawmakers need to sort out all the liability issues first.
The thing is that autonomous cars are like computers. They can do great things on there own after getting programmed but a human driver can override the autopilot function at anytime. California is not the first to trail blaze this new technology. Nevada was the first state to approve regulations for driverless cars on that roads.
I for one look forward to autonomous cars on the road to free up my time to reply to email or watch my sports team win. I see a time when driving will be like taking a flight. Cars sold today can already self-park. Some can automatically accelerate or decelerate depending on traffic with a feature called adaptive cruise-control. Program where you want to go and enjoy the ride. It’s not a future that is that far off.