Wednesday, June 19

Auto Developers Ready to Test Self-driving Cars on Public Roads

The results of a recent survey show that a majority of people would be interested in purchasing semi-autonomous vehicles. The study, by Boston Consulting Group, revealed that 55% of people would be likely to buy a car that had partial self-driving abilities, such as taking over the wheel on the highway or during traffic jams, while 44% said they’d be interested in a car that was fully autonomous.

Apparently people are willing to pay a good chunk of change for these vehicles, as well. More than 20% of those surveyed said they would pay $4,000 extra for a car that was able to entirely drive itself.

As the hype builds over these new autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, the reality of putting self-driving cars on the market is closer than ever before. Just last month, California issued 29 permits to automakers developing self-driving vehicles; the permits will allow them to begin testing vehicles on public roads.

Google took 25 out of the 29 permits being offered, while Audi and Daimler AG-Mercedes Benz each took two permits. The permits issued by California will allow Google to test 25 Lexus SUVs, which have been modified with self-driving capabilities, out on the roads with other drivers.

California passed a law in 2012 to authorize the testing of autonomous vehicles in the state, since previously there were no rules or regulations even related to the topic. The law is an effort to keep the state ahead of the game as far as the new technology goes, and even the DMV was excited to announce that California would be opening its roads to autonomous cars.

The director of the DMV in California stated that “testing on public roads is one step to developing this technology, and the DMV is excited in facilitating the advancement of autonomous vehicles in California,” according to The Verge.

One of the greatest benefits of autonomous vehicles that is being championed by developers is the increased safety this technology will bring to the roads.

Self-driving cars are expected to reduce accidents between vehicles, and also between vehicles and pedestrians. Google has already logged 700,000 miles of accident-free driving with its fully autonomous cars.

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