This week, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced that it will miss a state Senate deadline to establish public regulations for self-driving cars by January 1, 2015.
The Los Angeles Times reports safety concerns are the main motivation behind the delay. Possible regulations will now be discussed at a public workshop in Sacramento in late January, and the DMV will gather feedback from industry, academic, and consumer groups in the meantime. The LA Times notes “there are currently no federal safety standards or independent organizations that test the safety of these vehicles.” So according to USA Today, that leaves the state’s DMV essentially with three courses of action: follow the current US system (manufacturers self-certifying vehicles), opt for a European system (independent companies provide verification), or get into the Herculean task of providing its own testing.
Despite the lack of standards for the public, 2014 was a banner year for the advancement of driverless cars. In May, Google publicly revealed the prototype for its in-house built self-driving car, which initially did not include traditional components like a steering wheel, accelerator, brakes, mirrors, or soundsystem. The cars were capped at 25mph and did not allow humans to take over piloting. (Google revealed the first genuine build of its prototype last Monday in a blog post.)
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