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Driverless okay, but who gets fined?

Posted on: September 3, 2013 by Platinum Direct

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It had to happen. And now self-driving cars will be road tested in the U.K. by the end of this year. The trial will be one where drivers have to present in the cars. Researchers at the University of Oxford are working with Nissan to create what they are claiming to be semi-autonomous cars that will have a driver present: “but are capable of driving fully independently, using knowledge of the environment in which they are driving.”

The project is all part of a general move globally from vehicle makers and their systems suppliers to develop fully autonomous cars, but advancements will depend mainly on public safety and on updating the law to take account of the new technology. Certainly, money hungry governments would not want to miss out on their regular revenue stream that is currently fining drivers and not just cars.

Interestingly Google and other companies are testing driverless car technology cars with California and Florida having approved soon to start actual public road testing of the self-driving cars.

But self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at a stage that it can be authorized for use by the public for general driving, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation state governments recently. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. recommended states should ensure that a person licensed to drive self-driving vehicles should be seated in the driver’s seat, if a state decides to permit operation of self-driving vehicles other than for testing.

The licensed driver should: “be available at all times in order to operate the vehicle in situations in which the automated technology is not able to safely control the vehicle,” NHTSA said.

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