It might have seemed like science fiction a few years ago, but NHTSA is already preparing standards for self-driving cars.
Google is the driving force behind NHTSA’s decision to start researching how to regulate the technology. Other automakers tinkered with autonomous cars before the internet giant got involved, but its self-driving Toyota Prius and aggressive lobbying seem to have sparked fires under more than one pair of trousers.
NHTSA launched its $1.75 millon research project in partnership with Virginia Tech to decide what kind of controls should be included in autonomous cars to allow for manual override when needed. But it isn’t the only one trying to decide what to do about the self-directed cars. the California Legislature also passed a law last month to establish safety standards for such cars.
Before that, Nevada became the first state to allow autonomous cars in February. Cars that can operate without human input are required by the state to wear red license plates.
Google founder Sergey Brin already said he plans to offer driverless cars to the public within a decade, but SAE panelists disagree, saying it will take longer to develop a market-ready product.
Adaptive cruise control available from companies like Volvo can maintain a distance between your car and the next driver and can even bring the car to a full stop. Sophistication of those systems varies between automakers, but a fully independent car is still far from ready.
[Source: Automotive News]