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Google's self-driving car to beat Nissan's 2020 car launch - report

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November 23
4:07 AM 2013

Executives of automaker Nissan claimed that its self-driving car prototype would be made available to the public before 2020. However, a report published by US News challenged Nissan's ability to dominate the market might be thwarted by Google. The report said Google's self-driving car had already clocked in 500,000 miles on roads in California.

In a hearing of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held on Tuesday this week, lawmakers and analysts in the auto market came to an agreement that self-driving cars would be the next phase in vehicles in the future. However, the discussion about self-driving cars at the hearing was unclear about the timeline of the said cars that would be available at a dealership. Nonetheless, Representative Tom Petri, R-W.I., chairman of the Transportation subcommittee, said the introduction of self-driving vehicles could provide efficiency in the use of fuel and national roads by reducing the risks of accidents due to drunk or tired drivers. According to data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 33,561 people had died in vehicle crashers last year.

Petri said, "These benefits can only be realized if federal and state authorities carefully prepare for their arrival and adopt policies that help autonomous vehicles assimilate into the transportation network. Liability and cyber security concerns are significant barriers to autonomous vehicle adoption. Who is at fault in a crash between a vehicle operated by a human and one operated by a computer system?"

Carnegie Mellon University professor Raj Rajkumar said, however, that self-driving cars do not have human judgement that essentially overpowers in almost any technology. Rajkumar said, "Only sometime in the 2020s will a fully autonomous system that does not require a human to be in the driver's seat become feasible."

Google had been perfecting its self-driving cars for its consumers. The tech giant had equipped its prototype with mapping software and lasers to aid the car in making traffic decisions. Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin projected that self-driving cars would be available to regular consumers in less than five years back in 2012. A Businessweek article said a Google self-driving car might set back customers USD75,000.

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