Google has been working tirelessly at creating autonomous cars, because techies can't be bothered to drive, and recently said that the technology is only three to five years away from being road-worthy. The NHTSA and auto insurance companies disagree though.
The NHTSA is saying that a lot of research needs to be done to develop ways to test and ensure the safety of autonomous vehicles. Even though Google claims that robot cars can be made to "drive safer than people do," the NHTSA still needs to ensure that the cars can react safely to the ever changing and random situations on the road. The organization is still not sure whether the organization should be looking at performance alone, or whether is should also investigate the underlying electronics. It needs to figure out where "failure might occur" and develop tests to root out cars that could put people in danger.
Insurance companies also have an issue regarding self-driving cars, as it's not entirely sure who would be liable in a crash. “Right behind the first autonomous vehicle is the first autonomous vehicle ambulance chaser,” said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. “They will be there faster than you can imagine looking for any sort of accident that might be attributable to a deep pocket.”
According to these two groups, self driven cars are still 15-20 years away, largely due to legal issues.
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