Google has expressed severe dissatisfaction with the newly-drafted regulations regarding self-driving cars that were published on Wednesday by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. While the initial regulatory guidelines were already laid out last year, the official set of rules, regulations and restrictions were only made public on Wednesday, much to the dismay of the Mountain View, California-based tech giant. While most of the rules announced by the California DMV are along expected lines, a few are seemingly out-of-sync with Google’s line of thinking. According to a strongly-worded official reaction from the company, a few of the restrictions being imposed could hinder its plans of eventually transforming the way people commute on a daily basis by rolling out a fully autonomous vehicle that will not require any human intervention to move from point A to point B, even through heavy city traffic.
As per the latest set of proposed regulations, the California DMV says that self-driving automobiles must always have a licensed driver present in the vehicle at all times. Now this is exactly what upset Google, as according to the company, the biggest reason for it to get into the autonomous vehicle project in the first place was to “transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error or bringing everyday destinations within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car”. Seen in that scenario, the company says it is “gravely disappointed” that the newly-formulated regulations are looking to cap the scale and potential of what promises to be a truly transformational endeavor to help change the very essence of how people have commuted ever since the Model T rolled out of the Ford factory in Detroit, MI at the start of the twentieth century.
Coming to some of the less controversial regulations included in the new set of guidelines, the California DMV says that manufacturers of autonomous cars will require certification from accredited authorities that says in no uncertain terms that the vehicles are safe enough from the cyber security perspective. While rules like that are along expected lines, Google now needs to formulate its strategy as to how it will convince the authorities that fully-driverless vehicles will be safe enough to be used on city streets. The company’s current prototypes, which are plying in California and Texas, were originally designed without steering wheels and brake pedals, but the company simply had to include them in the final design to comply with existing guidelines.
Google however, will draw solace from the fact that the California DMV has released an official statement, saying, the regulations can be tweaked according to feedback from various stakeholders. According to the organization’s spokesperson, Mr. Jaime Garza, “Any of this stuff can be changed down the line. The regulations are in draft form and they will evolve as we get input”. By the looks of it, those ‘inputs’ will start pouring in from next month, when California starts inviting submissions and suggestions from interested parties. Google will be hoping to sway the DMV with its arguments, failing which, the company many not have any option, but to fall in line with the state’s proposals.