Self-driving Cars won’t Become Driverless Overnight

Automotive News - October 24, 2012

With Google Inc. now test­ing its self-dri­ving car on Cal­i­for­nia high­ways, automak­ers and U.S. reg­u­la­tors are antic­i­pat­ing what safe­ty hur­dles must be over­come to make vehi­cle auton­o­my real.

Reg­u­la­tors see autonomous vehi­cles as a means to reduce U.S. traf­fic deaths, which have declined for six straight years while killing an esti­mat­ed 32,310 peo­ple last year.

“Auto­mat­ed dri­ving, and the com­po­nents of it, real­ly is the next evo­lu­tion­ary step for what we see as safe­ty tech­nol­o­gy in the pas­sen­ger fleet,” Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tor David Strick­land said Tues­day at an auto­mat­ed-vehi­cles forum in Wash­ing­ton spon­sored by Vol­vo Cars. “We have to make sure the tech­nol­o­gy is reli­able.”

An awake per­son will be required at the helm of even the most inde­pen­dent cars for at least 10 to 20 years, said Peter Mertens, Volvo’s senior vice pres­i­dent for research and devel­op­ment.

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