Not too long ago, driverless cars seemed like something straight out of science fiction. The idea that long commutes or annoying errands could be made much easier was just wishful thinking done while sitting in a traffic jam or desperately searching for a parking spot. But over the last decade or so, multiple reports of companies developing and testing these autonomous, or self-driving, cars have made this fantasy much more of a reality.
Mercedes has had better luck than Tesla, whose Autopilot tests failed publicly when a fatal accident made headlines in 2016. Google and Uber have also entered the space with varying degrees of success, the former, along with Nissan and Waymo, has appeared to come as close as anyone else up to this point.
One development Google has made is the manufacturing of a prototype with no steering wheel or gas/brake pedals, but that might be a problem for the California Department of Motor Vehicles. As other companies follow this design trend, the DMV has made it so that these models would require a special waiver and thorough communication with law enforcement to ensure public safety.
Despite this roadblock, driverless cars might be right around the corner. One of the issues with the exclusion of a steering wheel and pedals is that the person in the car couldn’t take over if the system failed. More recent reports indicate that the trick was not to completely remove humans from the equation, but to instead have remote operators on call if needed. These individuals would be employed by third-party companies, some of which have already started to developed this technology.
According to the DMV, who is saying permits could be distributed as early as April, there are up to 50 companies ready to start testing. Click the link below to see one of them. The future is soon. Very soon.