Are you ready to turn over the wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal to your car? The time to do so may be closer than you think.
On May 30, 2013, the National Highway Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced its new policy on automated vehicle development. The policy outlines the types of vehicle automation that offer significant potential for reduction in highway crashes and deaths, summarizes NHTSA’s ongoing and future automated vehicle research, and outlines NHTSA's recommendations for states that have already authorized operation of self-driving vehicles for test purposes.
According to NHTSA, autonomous vehicles should only be used for testing purposes until the technology is more advanced and additional safety features are added. But ultimately, it is expected that self driving vehicles will save thousands of lives every year, as most auto accidents are the result of human error.
Some autonomous vehicle features include: adaptive cruise control, which allows the vehicle to adjust its speed to maintain a safe distance between vehicles, automatic braking, where the car jumps in and applies the brakes before a crash can occur, and vehicle to vehicle communications, where vehicles provide each other with safety and traffic information.
Autonomous vehicles are now being licensed for testing purposes only in Nevada, California, and Florida. In fact, in May, Nevada issued its first license plate to an autonomous vehicle.
Right now, Google is leading the way in the autonomous vehicle industry, but companies like GM, Audi, Toyota, and Ford are getting into the game and already have some autonomous features in their vehicles.
Ready to turn over the wheel? Don't get too excited-- fully self driving vehicles are not expected to be on the road and in use by the general public until 2025.
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