Although legions of people across the country have an innate curiosity concerning self-driving cars, of course, scrutiny of such vehicles is comparatively intense in California, and for understandable reasons.
For starters, the major player in the driverless-car stakes is Google, and that company was founded in California and has its headquarters in the state, with the so-called Googleplex being home to thousands of workers in Santa Clara County.
And, of course, many Californians are used to seeing self-driving prototypes at various technological stages motoring around the state.
To say that Google executives harbor a grand and aggressive vision regarding the future of the company’s driverless cars would be an understatement. As noted in a media piece on Google’s driverless vehicles and relevant considerations surrounding them, company engineers have been testing the cars for years, with Google officials routinely prodding state safety regulators to move faster in approving widespread use of the vehicles on California roadways.
Although it might be unfair to say that state officials are balking at moving forward with driverless cars in the state, there is no question that they are highly cautious about endorsing testing outcomes and other threshold plateaus that evidence a continuously refined product.
Such prudence — reportedly viewed as unnecessary hesitancy by Google principals — is not tied to regulators’ dismay with what the future promises. As the above article notes, many safety officials are truly excited about the safety-enhancing possibilities associated with driverless cars.
Notwithstanding their ardor, though, it can hardly be overemphasized that cars whizzing around on state streets and interstates without drivers controlling them is a truly big deal. Some hesitancy to forge ahead to usher in a stunning new roadway reality is understandable.
How much longer will it be before all restrictions are waved off regarding Google’s vehicles (and similar products made by competitors)?
No one really seems to know.
Only one thing is certain: Google executives are growing impatient.