Green Light for Self-Driving Cars!

Technology IS The Driver

Technology has been driving innovation and advancements in our lifestyle the past two decades.  And earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) affirmed this.  It stated that under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS),  Google’s self-driving system (SDS) that controls the operation of its self-driving cars is considered the “driver.”  Therefore, Google’s self-driving cars (SDC) may be produced without steering wheels or brake pedals.  This is ground-breaking progress driving us toward realizing the dream of safer roadways
and greater mobility.






In its February 4, 2016 letter to Google, the NHTSA defines “driver” not as a human occupant of a vehicle

“but rather it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.  In this instance, an item of motor vehicle equipment, the SDS, is actually driving the vehicle.”

Federal Regulation is Passive 

The NHTSA’s responsibility as a regulatory agency is to ensure that all vehicle manufactures self-certify their compliance with existing FMVSS on the date of manufacture.  Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday, “The burden remains on self-driving car manufacturers to prove that their vehicles meet rigorous federal safety standards.”  NHTSA does not test or certify for the manufactures.  Rather, it creates standards to improve safety.

Exemptions Rather Than Compliance May Be Best 

NHTSA acknowledged that federal regulatory rulemaking process is slow and possibly ineffective for technology advances:

the time it takes to conduct rulemakings may, in some instances, make such proceedings ill-suited as first-line regulatory mechanisms to address rapidly-evolving vehicle technologies

Consequently, it suggests that Google seek exemptions from various provisions of the FMVSS.

TED Talk Convinces

If you are still skeptical of the self-driving car, or, if you are a big supporter, I encourage you to watch Chris Urmson’s TEDTalk.  Mr. Urmson is the Director of Google’s Self-Driving Cars.  He shared that Google self-driving cars drive 3 million simulated miles daily – daily!

During Mr. Urmson’s talk, the data and images speak for themselves.  The shock and awe starts at about minute 8:33.

The Google self-driving car anticipates possible collisions and avoids them.

It will be exciting to see what more we will see from Google this year and its SDC.

Copyright 2016 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued.