California Pushes for Driverless, Automated Cars
August 23, 2012 9:07 AM
California lawmakers want driverless cars legalized within the state
Few will argue with the fact that one of the only ways to eliminate distracted driving is to completely remove the driver from the equation. This is in part what automated, driverless vehicles -- such as the fleet that Google is operating around the country -- promise. The cars are expected to be safer because distracted drivers will no longer be an issue. Google's driverless fleet has racked up
300,000 accident-free miles
Driverless vehicles can also allow those who were unable to drive themselves to get around without having to seek assistance. Other than making the roads safer, driverless cars also promise to decrease congestion and delays on the nation's roadways by eliminating accidents.
California is making moves to get these
on its state roads with one California legislator introducing a bill seeking to clarify that driverless cars are street legal. Google continues to be one of the major driving forces behind driverless vehicles, although there are other companies working in the industry.
Google believes that it has the computer science knowledge and financial strength to bring driverless cars to reality for Americans. "It's amazing to me that we (even) let humans drive cars," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said a few years ago.
A lot of the technology needed for driverless vehicles is already available, and some vehicles on the streets today have many of the components needed to make this feat possible. Industry Association Auto Alliance represents Toyota, Ford, GM, BMW, and other major automakers. According to Auto Alliance, its members are individually exploring autonomous vehicle technology, and the association says that great strides have been made in the past decade.
Ford and GM, for instance, are working on autonomous braking technology that allows the car to bring itself to a complete stop when radar and other sensors the vehicle use sense an impending accident.
While some state legislators in California are trying to get the vehicles legalized for road use within the state, other states such as Nevada already allow driverless cars to operate on its roads.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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