Forget about Lyft disrupting the transportation industry, Google has technology that will disrupt even the disrupters. So disruptive in fact, that the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now recognizing Google's computer's as a legitimate driver.
So what does this mean exactly? Google has a very impressive track record regarding the self-driving vehicles and accidents. According the official Google blog, there have only been 12 reported accidents out of more than 1.8 million miles of tests in the last six years. And get this, the accidents were caused by humans in every case. Not once was the driverless car to blame.
But, that's not to say accidents won't happen ... they will, and when they do, the "driver" would be held accountable. With self-driving cars, humans obviously can't drive them, so naturally, the driver is now officially identified as a Google computer.
Here's the official statement from the NHTSA:
No human occupant of the SDV could meet the definition of ‘driver’… given Google’s described motor vehicle design, even if it were possible for a human occupant to determine the location of Google’s steering control system, and sit immediately behind it, that human occupant would not be capable of actually driving the vehicle as described by Google.
“If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the ‘driver’ as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving. In this instance, an item of motor vehicle equipment, the SDS, is actually driving the vehicle.”
It's a huge move regarding liability, insurance and other issues. So, if there is an accident - which again, is very unlikely to be caused by a Google vehicle and more likely caused by a human - Google says that it is expecting to take full responsibility for any accidents that fault its computers.
What do you think? Would you travel in a driverless car? Do you think is will be safer than driving with a human? Let us know your thoughts by posting in the comments below.