Driverless cars are going to be one of the hottest tech topics of 2017, along with computer security and user privacy. Just like computer security and user privacy, there’s going to be a lot of debate swirling around the research and development of driverless cars. Often times, the press stories paint a picture of you happily reading your morning news on your tablet cruising along in a car controlled by a computer. Jonathon Ramsey wrote a piece in Fortune in which he said:
No matter what you’ve been told—and told, and told again—our self-driving future is a long and uncharted ways off. Pretending otherwise might have dire consequences.
The fact is, we’re still a long way from a truly driverless car society, but California has at least taken the first step in support of the development of the technology.
On Friday, the Golden State proposed regulations that would open up the public roads to testing of these vehicles in real-world situations. The public does have a chance to weigh in on the matter by April 24th to voice their approval or disapproval of the proposed action. For California’s part, this move into being the first to open public roads to autonomous vehicles is part of staying relevant in the industry and ahead of competitive states.
Eric Noble, president of automotive consulting firm The CarLab, told Bloomberg that the changes are “necessary and timely” if California wants to “keep that level of development activity.” They could prevent Michigan, which made autonomous vehicle trials without human drivers and physical controls legal in December, from becoming the new go-to state. “[California] kind of had to do it because at some point manufacturers can’t move autonomous vehicles forward without getting controls out of cars,” Noble added.
The good news is, car companies can’t just release the hounds if the proposal and legislation pass. They will have to go through an approval process set up by the National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration first. Still, there are sure to be those who are nervous about sharing the road with driverless cars and those who are ready and willing to embrace the technology.
What do you think of California’s new proposal? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.