Technology


Google lobbies in Nevada to legalize driverless cars.

by Physorg:

Google has hired lobbyist David Goldwater to represent the company in its push to legalize the running of autonomous vehicles on Nevada roads; this comes less than a year after announcing that it had been running live tests of its self-driving vehicles on California roads.

It was just last March that Google announced to the world that it had been racing autonomous cars around on rooftop parking lots and then just seven months later that it had been testing those cars on California roads; news that both made headlines and bolstered Google’s image as one of the more innovative companies operating today. Now comes news that Google is ready to tackle the sticky problem of allowing such cars to drive legally on roads, an issue no doubt that cropped up in the wake of its earlier announcements.

It’s not exactly clear why Google chose Nevada for its first push at legalizing what it’s been doing already; though there are theories, such as the fact that the giant Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just happens to be held in Las Vegas each year, or maybe it’s because Nevada has a history of allowing things that other states don’t; prostitution being the most infamous example, of course. Or it might be the fact that Nevada has a lot of roads that have very little traffic in very out-of-the-way places and thus could test its vehicles on public roads without much oversight.

As a result, there are now two bills currently being introduced to the Nevada legislature related to autonomous vehicles; one would be an amendment to another bill regarding electric vehicles that would create a means of licensing and testing autonomous vehicles on public roads; the other would provide an exemption for such “drivers” from the current law that disallows texting while behind the wheel.

Google claims that computer controlled vehicles are and will be much safer than conventional human driven vehicles because they are able to respond to road conditions more quickly and don’t fall prey to other human foibles, such as drinking and driving, falling asleep, or simply forgetting to pay attention.

Physorg

Gunslingor1 wrote:

Really though, we’ve had the technology to make self driving cars for about a decade now, but only recently has it become cost effective and feasible on the large scale. I honesetly think we are ready for it. Imagine, the end to all traffic jams; that will be a result if it is implemented correctly. If we make it manditory that all cars have the capability to drive themselves, accidents will just about become a thing of the past; I think there are 43,000 accidents a year in which someone dies, it would probably fall to the hundreds or even into the tens with self driving cars.

Driving drunk could then be legalized, manually driving drunk would then be outlawed. Texting while driving wouldn’t be an issue anymore, and I bet our economy would grow faster since people can work and do stuff while driving. Fuel efficiency could easily be increased simply by controlling the algorthims precisely.

This could have two very different impacts on the future.

1. With humans not behind the wheel, there could be a drop in car accidents and in insurance premiums. Humans will be able to “work” on their way to work and driving drunk would be a thing of the past.

2. Truck drivers and anyone in the delivery occupation could see their jobs slowly disappear as the cost of driverless cars would replace the cost of having an employee.

Either way, humans seem to be coming clsoer and closer to a future filled with robots.

Exciting and spooky all at the same time. Kind of like Google.