Google Not Happy With Proposed California Self-Driving Rules
California has become a big testing ground for autonomous vehicles, but the government is cracking down on the testing process. Although there are already rules in place, regulators in CA have plans to make them more strict and Google is none too happy.
The proposed regulations came out on Wednesday and they include things like always having a person behind the wheel and the presence of pedals and a steering wheel. The whole point of an autonomous car is not to need any of that stuff. Google's prototype car wouldn't have pedals or a wheel, making it impossible to test that car on California roads.
According to USA Today, Google executive Chris Urmson wrote a blog post and didn't hold back on his thoughts about the new rules. He said they are a step back from the rules first passed in 2012 and will hamper the entire process. It's not just Google that thinks the DMV went too far. Even the Lt. Governor acknowledged that the proposed changes may be too tough and create roadblocks to innovation. The idea behind the rules is to make the roads safer, especially during the testing process, but making things too tough is a problem. The rules are only proposed for now, with two public workshops scheduled to discuss them before they're made law. The DMVs final decision won't be know for months.
To be fair, California regulators are looking out for their state's drivers. Google is basically using California's highways as its personal test-bed. Perhaps if the cars were being tested on a private course, Google could have a say in the matter. But its self-driving vehicles have gotten into fender-benders on multiple occasions. Google states each one was caused by human drivers, but for now, the tech giant will have to play ball as development continues.