Google’s self-driving car project has had everyone wondering when they can expect the new technology on the road. A new report says that the self-driving cars will be opened to manufacturer testing on the road as soon as this Fall – specifically, around September 16th, as soon as the driving requirements take place. California’s DMV division adopted driverless car testing rules earlier this week.
So far, Google has been testing its autonomous cars, and the search engine giant hasn’t wracked up a single ticket on the unmanned vehicles (some accidents have occurred, but at the hands of human drivers). Other manufacturers who have had an interest in the technology, however, have been kept out of the project. Now, California has set its driverless car requirements into effect. As of September 16, 2014, manufacturers that test Google’s driverless cars must apply for an autonomous driving permit from the state of California after undergoing an autonomous driving course.
The need for a special course consists of the fact that, unlike traditional driving courses, autonomous vehicle drivers must know what to do in an emergency when taking over the vehicle and assuming driver control. Traditional vehicles, as you know, require driver control at all times. Driverless cars will test drivers’ reflexes and knowledge in the event that something goes wrong. Once a manufacturer applies for a permit, the individual that will sit behind the wheel must have basic knowledge of the technology, how it works, and must supply the make and model number of the vehicle subject to testing. In order to pay for accidents caused, the manufacturer in question must maintain a $5 million insurance policy that will provide financial support.
Last but not least, drivers can get points on their permit if they violate on-the-road traffic laws, but drivers can only remain in good standing if they have no more than one point on their autonomous driver permit for traffic violations. Seeing that Google has now added reminder, timer queries, and car rental bookings to Google Now’s voice command capabilities, the time spent in driverless cars has become even more useful.
Google’s home state, California, has been the first to see driverless cars come to its streets, but Nevada, Florida, and Michigan will see Google’s driverless cars tested on its streets sooner rather than later. Texas has also passed laws permitting driverless cars and provided driving rules, but the state mandates a human driver at the wheel at all times.
While driverless cars are one of Google’s finest projects, the Mountain View, California company has some other tech goodies in store for its Google Input/Output (or I/O) 2014 Conference next month from June 25-26. Android Wear, the company’s new wearables platform, its Project Tango seven-inch 3D tablets, and a new release of Android (perhaps Android 4.5 Lollipop) are expected announcements. Google looks to release 4,000 of its Project Tango tablets to its developers at that time.