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Google’s self-driving cars banned until manual controls are added

Luke Johnson


Google's self-driving car

Google’s heavily publicised self-driving cars will be pulled from the road next month unless manual controls are added.

While you might think this defeats the purpose of a self-driving vehicle, new legislation is being introduced to the US requiring all autonomous vehicles to offer manual controls as a backup system in case of emergency.

At present Google’s self-driving cars offer no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals. Instead, just a single start/stop button is present.

The new rules from the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles will come into effect on September 16.

They stipulate that those travelling in autonomous cars must be able to take “immediate physical control” of the vehicle if required.

Back in May Google announced it was to produce 100 prototype self-driving cars. These bubble-looking vehicles feature no pedals or wheel at present. In the name of safety, the cars are capable of detecting all objects within “around two football pitches in all directions” of the car.

“With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary,” a Google spokesperson stated.

Earlier this week it emerged that Google’s self-driving cars are capable of breaking the speed limit.

Software lead on the Google project, Dmitri Dolgov revealed that the cars can travel up to 10mph above the speed limit in order to protect passengers against speeding cars.

Read More: Driverless Cars: Everything you need to know

Via: WSJ

Jeffrey Nicholas Gennick

August 24, 2014, 7:38 pm

I actually completely support this. Despite what Google may think, an emergency stop button simply isn't enough. Sometimes it's not a case of stopping to avoid a problem, but going faster. Or needing to steer out of the way. In fact, with self-driving cars, I'd even go so far as to say make the brakes and the steering work without any power or computer controls.

I'm still not convinced that these things aren't terrorist weapons waiting to happen. What precautions has Google taken to make sure the satellite communication can't be intercepted and changed to make the car do whatever the hacker wants?

Prem Desai

August 25, 2014, 9:32 am

I've mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I don't think I would trust a car without a way to take over (maybe that's only me).

On the other hand, have you seen some of the nutters out there ???!!! They need a car without any controls.

Maybe Google can develop both versions and come up with a scoring system for nutters and non-nutters !!!!

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