Self-Driving Cars Face Some Hurdles, Feds Say | Edmunds

Self-Driving Cars Face Some Hurdles, Feds Say


WASHINGTON Self-driving cars without conventional steering wheels or brake pedals face potentially significant legal hurdles, according to a new federal report.

The report found "there are few existing federal regulatory hurdles to the deployment of automated vehicles with traditional designs and equipment to accommodate a human driver," but "there may be greater obstacles to vehicle designs without controls for human drivers, such as a steering wheel or brake pedals."

Many federal standards "are based on assumptions of conventional vehicle designs and thus pose challenges for certain design concepts, particularly for 'driverless' concepts where human occupants have no way of driving the vehicle," the report said.

The report, which examined the key challenges in the full deployment of automated vehicles, was prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

Google is working on autonomous vehicles without traditional controls. An update on Google's self-driving program is expected on Tuesday during a U.S. Senate hearing on the future of automated vehicles.

In the meantime, Google says: "We believe that the full potential of self-driving technology will only be delivered when a vehicle can drive itself from place to place at the push of a button, without any human intervention."

More guidance on self-driving vehicles is coming from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this summer, following public hearings this spring.

The report said steps must be taken to ensure "that existing regulations do not unduly stifle innovation."

Edmunds says: Your future self-driving car may look at lot like what's in your driveway right now.

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