by Benson Agoha | Technology
The roll-out of self-driving cars has been faced with many issues, and we are not just talking about technology huddles to cross.
|* The Google driver-less car has neither steering nor manual driving controls.|
Some of the major issues operators think have to be resolved before such vehicles are let loose on our roads are legal, and with some auto industry executives believing that it would take up to 2020 before self-driving cars are a reality, hopes look dampened.
That was last year. Today, perspectives appear to be changing and governments are showing stronger interest in a faster roll-out of self-driving vehicles, often with financial commitment.
In a report, Wednesday, Industry Week said the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes "that the autonomous car built by Google-parent Alphabet could qualify as being its own driver."
It seems to answer a some questions raised when a google self-driving car was stopped by a Police officer for going too slow on a road where it should have been faster. The "driver" was reported given some advise by the officer, which prompted the question who was the driver?
|* The first driver-less vehicle trials in Royal Greenwich|
was experienced by former Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP
and Leader of Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Denise Hyland, with others.
Google defended the preset speed of its auto-driving vehicles, saying it was set for a reason.
Googles self-driving car has clocked many million miles of safe driving - including recent trials along waterfront roads in Washington.
Previously, the US government has refused to allow unmanned roll-out of self-driving cars on public roads because it believes that "technology can simply fail."
Now, in a letter the NHTSA said that since self driving cars lack human controls, it is "reasonable to identify the driver as whatever is doing the driving."
The response was prompted by a query from Google Alphabet, based in the Silicon Valley where much of the earlier trials of the auto cars took place.
|* A police officer stops a google driver-less vehicle for going|
too slow on the road. He spoke to the human occupant.
According to Industry Week, the NHTSA believes that since the self-driving cars lacks steering wheels or other controls for humans, it is "more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving."
The response however does not change the rules of the roads but does reflect a shift in thinking which is necessary for resolving the deadlock.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday that "Our interpretation that the self-driving computer system of a car could, in fact, be a driver is significant." But he said "the burden remains on self-driving car manufacturers to prove that their vehicles meet rigorous federal safety standards.”
The British government has committed some £20 million to encouraging the testing of self-driving vehicles on local roads including Royal Greenwich where trials are ongoing.