A watchdog group has called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to slow Google down in its rush to get the company’s driverless cars on the road. A prototype for the vehicle was released in May.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the director of Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project, John M. Simpson, writes in a letter to DMV Director Jean Shiomoto, “We call on the DMV to ensure the safety of the public is put well ahead of the self-serving agendas of the manufactures.”
Simpson said Google needs to take more time–at least one year–to properly test the self-propelled vehicles which seat two people, have no steering wheel, and have no brake or gas pedal. He sates the January 1, 2015, timeline in which the DMV is expected to release rules governing the operation of Google’s no-driver vehicles is far too quick and that more time is needed to ensure that the new technology will not be a danger on the roads.
The group is also calling for an additional six months for the DMV and the public to analyze the findings and results before making the prototypes available to the public for use, notes the Times.
Simpson suggests that “there would be no way for an occupant to take control in an emergency; occupants would be captives of Google’s technology, completely at the Internet giant’s mercy.”
Google insists that its no-driver cars will be safe and cites plans to include blind spot eliminating sensors. It also asserts that the speed of the first vehicles will be topped off at 25 mph.
Companies such as Ford, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz are testing and employing some forms of self-driving technology in their vehicles. But Google’s prototype would be the first of its kind to be completely hands-free.