Driverless cars have been increasingly dominating the headlines in recent years as the technology continues to develop and gain popularity. The state of California recently became the first to move forward with an innovative but controversial law allowing driverless cars to be immune from traffic tickets in the state.
The catalyst for this decision was a ruling made in April by a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commissioner stating that driverless cars can legally be driven in the state without a licensed person behind the wheel, paving the way for the law protecting such cars from traffic tickets.
While the ruling put California at the forefront of driverless car technology, allowing those cars to be immunized from traffic tickets has been a source of contention among local drivers. The law does place some restrictions on the use of driverless cars: they must travel below 10mph and only operate at speeds that are “reasonable and prudent” for the environment.
The terms of the law are meant to mimic how a human driver would obey the rules of the road. Since driverless cars inherently lack the human judgement necessary to comprehend the nuances of traffic regulations, the restrictions are meant to level the playing field and offer protection to both humans and robots alike.
Regardless of the majority of drivers’ feelings towards the decision, the law has resulted in significant changes for the industry. Driverless cars are being tested and used more frequently on California’s roads, giving the state a jump start in the race to create the perfect driverless car.
Of course, the technology behind driverless cars is still far from perfect, with more work to be done in terms of enhancing safety techniques and improving the performance of the cars on the roads. With the new rules in place, however, it’s clear that the driverless-car industry has taken a giant step in the right direction.