10 Feb Google’s driverless cars are now legally the same as a human driver
If you hop into one of Google’s pod-like self-driving cars, you won’t be considered the driver, according to a letter sent to Google by federal transportation officials.
Instead, the law will treat the car’s software as the driver.
“We agree with Google its [self-driving vehicle] will not have a ‘driver’ in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years,” the letter reads. “If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the “driver” as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.”
The decision by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration marks a huge moment for Google and the rest of the auto industry as it races to build the first fully autonomous motor vehicle. While most other carmakers are building their vehicles with steering wheels, brake pedals and other machinery in mind, Google imagines that its robot car will have none of these things.