Self-driving cars are programmed to follow the rules of the road, whereas drivers are not. This discrepancy has caused a high accident rate for driverless vehicles, prompting California to demand they have a steering wheel and a human driver at the ready.
Questions over the safety of self-driving cars, a rapidly-developing technology led by the likes of Google, has pushed California to issue state rules for autonomous automobiles that may put the brakes on the driverless revolution. This week, regulators in the Golden State demanded that self-driving vehicles pass multiple safety tests and users of driverless cars must be trained and certified by the manufacturer. In addition, they would receive a special designation on their driver’s license.
“Given the potential risks associated with deployment of such a new technology, (California Department of Motor Vehicles) believes that manufacturers need to obtain more experience in testing driverless vehicles on public roads prior to making this technology available to the general public,” the agency said of the new regulations.
The federal government, via the US Department of Transportation, has already issued unofficial guidance on self-driving cars, also requiring that a human be ready to take the wheel of a self-driving car should the moment arise.