Posted Feb 8th 2013 9:29AM
In just a handful of years, autonomous car technology has taken amazing strides forward. In particular, the highly visible Google self-driving car effort has garnered loads of media attention for its impressive and fast-evolving technology. In fact, Google is reasonably confident that its autonomous technology can be brought to the marketplace in the next three to five years.
Whether or not the marketplace is in any shape to accept a self-driving car in that timespan is a much trickier question.
A new report by Bloomberg examines the relationship between autonomous tech and the regulations that must certainly come along with it before these kinds of auto-piloted cars show up in a dealership near you. Google maintains that self-driving cars can be made to "drive safer than people do," saving lives in the process. Meanwhile, regulating bodies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have to figure out how the cars will be road-tested for safety and where new standards will be set. How a vehicle's software is able to react to fluid and random driving scenarios, for example, will need to be somehow be tested to meet a high standard of performance.
Reaction from the insurance industry is likely to slow down the arrival of autonomous cars, as well, says Bloomberg. While, as a whole, the insurance companies have claimed to be in favor of self-driving's accident-prevention possibilities, the reality of liability claims muddy the waters. Some insurance experts predict that these issues could cause it to be as long as 15 or 20 years before the way is clear for self-driving cars in North America – decades, in other words, behind the pace of the technology itself.
Check out the full Bloomberg story, with a lot more detail around this complex issue, here.