Alphabet Inc is taking big steps to help make self-driving cars a reality. The parent entity of Google is among many tech giants that have been tirelessly working on and testing their autonomous vehicle tech. However, Google is perhaps the most renown of these firms and has made numerous headlines regarding their progress.
Today, the head of the search engine giant’s self-driving program will sit down with Congress. Google hopes to appeal to the nation’s road and safety authorities in order speed up the introduction of autonomous vehicles on our roads.
Google wants self-driving cars here sooner
Chris Urmson, the man leading Google’s autonomous car venture, has prepared to speak to the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday this week. He aims to convince congress to give America’s department of transport more authority. This would ensure that the process of ushering in self-driving cars will be much simpler and quicker.
The likes of Apple Inc, General Motors and Tesla Motors are just a few of the major industry leaders that are working hard on realizing their version of self-driving cars. However, every one of these companies face massive setbacks in the form of current state and federal policies that limit the testing of their cars on American roads. This, in turn, slows down the rate at which they can develop their vehicles. Ultimately, self-driving cars could be here much quicker were it not for safety laws that prohibit vehicle testing.
Google aims to convince the Senate that self-driving cars can and will be beneficial to everyone. Many authorities and states are fully against their use on public road though. In December, California proposed to completely bar the use of autonomous cars that require no human control or a licensed driver.
“We propose that Congress move swiftly to provide the secretary of transportation with new authority to approve lifesaving safety innovations,” Urmson wrote. “This new authority would permit the deployment of innovative safety technologies that meet or exceed the level of safety required by existing federal standards, while ensuring a prompt and transparent process.”
Google wants innovative road safety
Google says that the incorporation of new technology on the roads would do away with out-dated car components. For instance, the use of a rear-view mirrors should pretty much be unnecessary in an age where cameras and sensors can be used instead. Google argues that current laws are not helping keep people safe, but rather keeping road safety in the dark ages.
“If every state is left to go on its own way without a unified approach, operating self-driving cars across state boundaries would be an unworkable situation.”
What Google is essentially fighting for is more freedom to build, test and operate its self-driving cars across the country. It is an initiative that all companies that hope get their own autonomous cars on the road will benefit from.
But it is hard to defend these cars when they too cause numerous accidents. In February, one of Google’s vehicles crashed into a municipal bus. Though they are still in their testing phase, it is incidents like these that law makers have to consider as well. Google says it has since improved the software of its vehicles.