The age of the autonomous vehicle is right around the corner, and California, a city in the United States, is pushing forward aggressively to make sure it’s on the forefront of this breakthrough technology.
If we look at the state of driverless cars today, they tend to work best with a driver behind the wheel. This is important because should the autonomous technology fails, a driver should always be around the wheel to keep things under control.
However, if we look back at some important data Google has collected in the past, it shows that it might not be safe to give drivers control should a driverless vehicle loses control. This is because drivers treat themselves as passengers when in a self-driving car.
It would be practically impossible for someone to take control of a self-driving car if they’re busy watching movies or browsing the web.
California’s New Plan is Moving Toward Driverless Cars
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) made a startling announcement a few days ago. As it stands, the DMV has chosen to amend the “Testing of Autonomous Vehicles” Act in a bid to have fully autonomous vehicles driving around without a designated driver.
We understand the regulation will go into effect come April 2, 2018, which is not too far away. Once everything is in play, the DMV will then issue permits to allow companies to test driverless vehicles that do not have a backup driver.
Furthermore, a team needs to be close to the vehicle with a remote capable of controlling a stubborn car.
“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”
While this is just to give manufacturers the means to test their fully autonomous cars in a public setting, it’s also a testament to what is to come.
Good or Bad Decision?
Here’s the thing, we can’t change the fact that self-driving cars are coming and will eventually become the norm. Therefore, it makes sense for California to prepare for the future by making things easier for car makers.
Still, a car that doesn’t rely on humans to go around could become a major problem for pedestrians, at least in the short term. We’ve always seen movies of robots killing humans, and to many, this future is possible.
Well, there’s a good chance the autonomous vehicle could end up being the first robot to kill a human. The question is, how will California prepare itself for such an inevitable outcome? Will car makers be held accountable?
You see, there’s no easy way to deal with this as we continue to bring technology deeper into our daily lives.
Time will tell if giving intelligent machines immense control over our lives is a risk worth taking. If this move is the right one, then California would see it itself at the helm of a broad technological shift that could affect every human on Earth.