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Software now deemed to be the "driver" of autonomous cars

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the development of autonomous vehicles for use in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Some of the most serious concerns relate to the safety of self-driven cars, an issue overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the agency responsible for developing guidelines related to the nation's roads and vehicles. The companies working on development of driverless vehicles recently received good news as Google was notified of the NHTSA's decision to allow the software underlying such vehicles to be classified as a driver.

One of the major complaints of those developing software-driven vehicles has been the fact that various safety regulations prevent the thorough testing needed to bring such vehicles to the market. In fact, the state of California is working on rules that will require autonomous vehicles to have licensed drivers aboard and steering wheels included in their design. Developers are concerned that features such as steering wheels might result in driver interference with important safety features, creating a greater risk of car accidents.

While safety guidelines could take many years for development and implementation, the decision by the NHTSA has moved the process forward both for itself and for the developers. One of the next areas of concern for the agency may be determining how to ensure that an appropriate safety standard has been met by a given vehicle and its software. Safety will continue to be a concern as motorists face the possibility of sharing the road with unmanned vehicles.

Automobile accidents are often attributed to driver errors, and the investigation of an accident is crucial for identifying the source of such errors. People who have been injured because of the negligent action of another driver might want to pursue legal action if insurance coverage is inadequate to deal with their losses.

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