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Google supports legislation for driverless cars

world Updated: May 12, 2011 00:47 IST
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Google, a pioneer of driverless cars, is quietly lobbying for legislation that would make Nevada the first state where they could be legally operated on public roads.

The two bills, which have received little attention outside Nevada’s Capitol, are being introduced less than a year after the giant search engine company acknowledged that it was developing cars that could be safely driven without human intervention.

Last year, in response to a reporter’s query about its then-secret research and development program, Google said it had test-driven robotic hybrid vehicles more than 140,000 miles on California roads — including Highway 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Google hired David Goldwater, a lobbyist based in Las Vegas, to promote the two measures, which are expected to come to a vote before the Legislature’s session ends in June.

In testimony before the State Assembly on April 7, Goldwater argued that the autonomous technology would be safer than human drivers, offer more fuel-efficient cars and promote economic development.

Although safety systems based on artificial intelligence are rapidly making their way into today’s cars, completely autonomous systems raise thorny questions about safety and liability.

(New York Times)