Google makes plea for driverless car regulation switch-up

Google self-driving car

Instead of waiting for new regulations that will make way for self-driving cars on US roads, Google wants the government to create a new Federal-level authority that could review the company's self-driving cars and give it special permissions for deployment.

Google's self-driving car, which is designed without pedals or a steering wheel, has had difficulties with current safety regulations that dictate a vehicle must allow a person to actually drive the car and have manual controls.

Following a report released last week by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) showing these regulations just aren't ready for driverless cars, Google today sent a letter outlining its proposal to the US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, according to the Associated Press (AP).

It proposes that the new authority would be available to any company with a self-driving car, not just itself, and would be able to review and expediate permission from transportation regulators to sell them if it passes safety standards.

Google added that the government could set conditions limiting the use of the car due to safety concerns, but the authority would be obligated to review the application in a "tight but realistic" time frame.

Faster than changing laws

Google is essentially hoping that this would make for a quicker solution than creating and changing current Federal- and State-level regulations.

A summary of the proposal explains that the creation of this authority would bring "enormous potential safety benefits ... quite promptly with appropriate safety conditions and full public input," according to the summary of the proposal obtained by AP.

With the company seeking a quicker solution, it also suggests that perhaps Google is a lot closer to being ready to deploy its driverless for public use than previously thought.

The government does have hopes to speed up the preparation of laws to help the roll out of driverless cars. It is hoping to spend $4 billion over the next 10 years to assist in the development, testing and deployment of automated vehicle technologies across the US.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be holding a public meeting on April 8 at the DOT headquarters in Washington, DC, while a second meeting in California is to be scheduled soon as well.