Self Driving Cars Getting Closer To Reality
The road to self driving cars just got a lot shorter, and closer to a reality this month.
Following Nevada and Michigan, the state of California just granted 29 permits to auto manufacturers, so that they can legally test self driving cars on public roads. States are now requiring permits, a sign that the development of self driving cars is becoming legitimized. Previously, there were no laws either allowing or prohibiting their testing.
The permits were issued on September 16, the first day that they became required within the state. Of the 29 permits issued, the majority went to Google Inc. who is testing 25 adapted Lexus SUVs, and Mercedes-Benz and Audi each received two. Audi was the first to apply, followed by Daimler-Benz and then Google. In 2012, Audi became the first company to ever apply for a self driving car license, in the state of Nevada. Other auto manufacturers and first-tier automotive suppliers are in the process of applying for permits in California as well.
Now that the testing of self driving cars is regulated in California, there are rules that must be followed by those seeking permits in the state. Each vehicle must be registered, and must be insured or bonded for $5 million. Testing programs must be completed by drivers, and the drivers must have the ability to take command of a self driving vehicle at any time. Any accidents that these test vehicles are involved in must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Testing on public roads is one step to developing this technology, and the DMV is excited in facilitating the advancement of autonomous vehicles in California.”
Daimler officials have said that they will use different methods when teaching their autonomous cars to operate safely on U.S. roads than are currently employed in the development and testing of it’s cars in Germany.
Other auto manufacturers have self driving cars in the pipeline, and most are already launching features that are part of autonomous driving programs. Nissan has an autopilot feature for parking and for lane changes. Acura and Subaru have some self piloting features in vehicles that are already on U.S. roads.
Other manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and Toyota are experimenting, and some expect to have self driving cars on the road by 2020.
GM has plans to sell cars with partial auto-pilot mode by 2017. These vehicles will also be able to exchange safety and speed data with similarly equipped cars as well. The package will be called Super Cruise, and will first appear in some 2017 Cadillac models before trickling down into other GM brands.
It is thought that as many as 23,000 self driving cars could be hitting the roads around the world each year by 2025. That number could reach 11.8 million only ten years later.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca