Google’s Self-Driving Cars on Public Roads

Many has changed since the first test drive a self-driving car which took place on 1 May 2012 in Las Vegas. And it seems like the future of transportation belongs to them.

The astounding autonomous cars have made impressive progress in the past two years. According to the Google company, their car has gathered more than 700,000 accident-free miles without human intervention. Of course that the test drives have been limited to a few closed courses and select areas. But this is about to change. Starting this month, Google and a few other ambitious automakers will be able to unleash self-driving vehicles on any public road in the state of California. Last week, the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handed out its first 29 permits for testing autonomous cars on all of the state's public roads.

Google’s Self-Driving Car

According to The Guardian Google won 25 of the 29 total permits, which will allow the company to test 25 modified, self-driving Toyota Lexus SUVs. Meanwhile, Volkswagen AG Audi and Daimler AG-Mercedes Benz also received two permits each to test their own modified, self-driving cars.

The permits are the result of a law that California passed back in 2012 officially authorizing autonomous vehicle tests, which came after similar laws were passed in Florida and Nevada. In California, any qualified organization can apply for self-driving car permits: they cost $150 for the first car and $50 for every additional car, and require companies testing them to cover insurance costs up to $5 million. Now you’re talking! The permits are designed to help legitimize and regulate the thriving technology, while making sure that California remains at the forefront of its research and development.

Jean Shiomoto, the director of the California DMV said in a public statement "Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. The potential safety and mobility benefits are enormous." "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."

Of course, the requirements were many and well stated like the ability of test drivers to take command of an autonomous vehicle at any time, to operate safely on public roads using different methods that are used in the testing and development of the cars. The next step is to make the cars capable of managing more and more complex situations.

What’s next?

We are looking of a new era of test driving the self-driving cars. The cars are already very well aware of their environment and it will only get better day by day. But the question remains: Are we, humans, ready to give up the leading steering wheel to a machine, even if money, luxury and fame come with it? This remains to be seen, but we would appreciate to hear your opinions about self-driving cars.

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