Nearly 11,000 deaths caused by drunk driving occur each year in the United States and more than 110 million instances of impaired driving according to the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey. Imagine bringing those numbers down significantly with the initiation of self-driving cars on the road. Thanks to California Governor Jerry Brown, we are on the path to saving more lives from fatal car accidents.
Gov. Brown signed the autonomous-vehicles bill into law Tuesday, September 25 at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The bill was authored by Google co-founder, Sergey Brin and State Sen. Alex Padilla. It will set up procedures and requirements for determining when the cars are road-ready. It is Google’s goal that self-driving cars will be able to drive on public streets in five years or less. “Some people have other disabilities, some people are too young, some people are too old, sometimes we’re too intoxicated,” said Brin. This could be a revolutionary move in road safety, not only for drivers under the influence, but for senior citizens as well.
The cars use a combination of technologies, such as radar sensors on the front, video cameras aimed at the surrounding area, and artificial-intelligence software that helps steer. While the car is designed to manage the wheel for you, a human is required to be behind the wheel at all times so that they may be able to take control of the vehicle if need be. In addition to Google, other organizations are working on similar projects for self-driving vehicles.
This is a smart move on Gov. Brown’s part.