Google and other companies interested in the implementation ofdriver-lesscars are pressing for national rules to regulate the industry in order to avoid what it sees as apatchwork of statelaws that it claims currently impede innovation. Google, General Motors and ride share providerDelphi have each stated that new regulations are required and the lead must come from the US federal government.

Part of the problem is that the view of each state differ widely and many states have not even been inclined to discuss the issue.

according toChris Urmson the key issues to be resolved "include liability and testing rules" but part of the challenge is that only23 states have introduced any legislation and "If every state is left to go its own way without a unified approach, operating self-driving cars across state boundaries would be an unworkable situation and one that will significantly hinder safety innovation, interstate commerce, national competitiveness and the eventual deployment of autonomous vehicles." One of the greatest challenges is whether a licensed driver is still required for vehicle testing, California demands a licensed driver be in the vehicle for on-road testing, yet theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration disagrees believing that software controls and sensors in the car is the best way to bring about their goal of zero roadway deaths.

It is important to note that theNHTSA still believes there to be "significant legalhurdles to allowing fully autonomous vehicles without steeringwheels" andTransportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has made it clear that theNHTSA is currently responsible for drafting guidelines for autonomous cars during the next six months, but companies like Google are pressing to ensure the AI systems that control the self-piloting car are governed by federal law pressing for a rapid change in the law, in order that they are able to go to production soon.

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In theory a blind woman could step into an autonomous car and instruct it to take her to her destination, merely speaking the address and have it confirmed before taking the journey. Under current law a blind person sitting in the driver's seat would be illegal, but with an autonomous car there is no reason this could not happen, autonomous cars would also make life easier for many disabled drivers who today have to have alterations made every time they purchase a new vehicle.

Google has had a setback in California in February 2016 as one of it's test vehicles struck a public bus near Google's HQ in Mountain View, while there were no injuries this incident did force Google to alter some of the program code used to control the Lexus SUV. There have been several accidents involving autonomous vehicles, but the majority have been rear-end accidents where the driver behind was not paying attention, this was the first case of an autonomous vehicle causing an accident.

However, in reality regulation over the use of autonomous vehicles is only the tip on theicebergwhen it comes to legal andprogrammaticcontrols over a whole range of AI devices. In reality all governments (not only the USA) need to put into place proactive laws that govern the use of artificial intelligence, the relationship between humans and machines, not only in relation to the autonomous car, but to govern all AI interactions.

Other articles by Peter Giblett include:

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