The artificial intelligence system that conducts Google’s self-driving car could be considered as its driver under federal law, US vehicle safety regulators have announced.
The unit that works on the autonomous vehicle submitted a proposal on November 12 last year for a self-driving car that has no need for a human driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s has announced that it will interpret the term driver as the car’s self-driving system, rather than any of the vehicles occupants.
Google is one of many major automakers and technology companies that are racing to develop and sell autonomous vehicles.
Many of the companies developing the autonomous driving technology believe that state and federal safety rules are impeding testing and eventual wide scale availability of such vehicles.
California, for example, has proposed draft rules that require steering wheels and a licensed driver in all self-driving cars in case of emergency.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst for the Kelley Blue Book automotive research firm, said significant legal questions remained surrounding autonomous vehicles. However, he added if "NHTSA is prepared to name artificial intelligence as a viable alternative to human-controlled vehicles, it could substantially streamline the process of putting autonomous vehicles on the road.”
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.