Google's self-driving car can be a driver: US regulators
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Google of its decision in a letter last week.
Washington/Detroit: In a significant development for Google, the US vehicle safety regulators have said that the artificial intelligence self-driving cars can be considered as a driver under the federal law.
The move clears a major hurdle for the tech giant and other companies developing autonomous cars technology.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sets rules and regulations on America's roads, told Google of its decision in a letter last week.
Last November, Google submitted a proposed design for a self-driving car back which has "no need for a human driver".
The letter to Google from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Chief Counsel Paul was that “NHTSA will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants”.
“We agree with Google its (self-driving car) will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years,” the regulator said.
Google in his response said that the federal agency offered its most comprehensive map yet of the legal barriers to putting fully autonomous vehicles on the road. It also noted that regulations requiring some auto safety equipment cannot be waived right away, with requirements for braking systems activated by foot control.
The NHTSA's rulling gives Google's self-driving car, which has no typical in-car controls, one step closer to being allowed on the American roads.