1. Ford, Google, Tesla’s Self-Driven Cars to Zoom in 2016 but California plays Spoil Sport

Ford, Google, Tesla’s Self-Driven Cars to Zoom in 2016 but California plays Spoil Sport

28th December 2015

Ford is one of the oldest car firms and is known for creating history in the automotive world. Fields, the current manager of Ford says that he wishes to keep the world mobile in the years to come. Hence Ford is now looking into, car-hailing as well as self-driven or electronic cars. It envisions the shortage of oil in the next 15-20 years and thus, takes the necessary steps.

Already taking steps towards the decided course, Ford has made an investment of around $4.5 billion in the electric vehicles market. However, the firm has received a lot of flak since they decided to expand into other markets and widen the variety of cars keeping global warming in mind. It is true that the emission units of Ford have decreased considerably in the American market but the same cannot be said for the global bazaar.

In fact, since the company is expanding in countries like China, there is every chance that the emission units are rising and not going down. However, from an objective point of view, if the plans of Ford come through, it will have succeeded in creating another revolution in the industry. Thus, even if the emission units of Ford are increasing right now, once the electric cars are on the streets and its car-hailing service is in place, the emission units will automatically go down. Hence, Ford is truly working on a futuristic vision just now. Better late than never, right?

Speaking of late, Ford is going to have its self-driven cars tested on the streets of California any time soon. They have enrolled for the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing program. While Ford seems to be very excited about it, California is already making laws for self-driven cars. If things go according to the plan, self-driven cars of Ford should be found on the streets of California by next year. The company seems to be very positive about this.

They shall first test the sedans of their Ford Fusion Hybrids and then, move on to other cars. Automated cars are going to benefit the cities enormously. Apart from the very obvious eco-friendly benefit, they are also going to solve issues like unwanted accidents, traffic and parking space. It will also ensure that there is more space for pedestrians, cyclists and bikers.

Ford isn't the only one venturing into self-driven cars. Google is said to be doing it since a long time. In fact, Google also plans to start rendering the service by next year and has planned on making self-driven cars an independent firm under Alphabet Inc. Apparently Google's self-driven cars have more than 1.6 million miles on the roads of Texas and San Francisco. Hence, Google is going to be launching services in these cities. The vehicles will first be launched in college campuses, corporate parks and military bases. If they are met with success here, they will be open to general public.

It is true that all car companies are in a bid to launch self-driven vehicles first and sooner or later, this is going to become a norm. As of now, the vehicles aren't going to be available for personal use but as ride for hire services. While a lot of users are interested in making a purchase, a lot of them are apprehensive about it. The largest fear being loss of control...

The research on self-driven cars is going to cost money. Google is going to showcase its Search Engine Ads on the Self-Driven Cars as well. It is also going to allow traditional automakers to use its car for car-hailing services.

The decision to first run the car as a service is so that they can rework on any bugs in the car and keep updating the machine regularly. Once the firm feels the cars are ready for private use, they'll be let out into the market for buying. The estimated time-frame of letting these cars on to the streets is around 2 years.

As mentioned earlier, Ford is going to go ahead of itself and start testing its self-driven fully hybrid versions on the streets of Michigan Campus. Apart from Ford, Tesla and Cadillac are looking forward to rolling out such models too. While these cars are largely self-driven, drivers may be required to take control in certain situations.

Understandably then, the Californian Government wants every self-driven car a steering wheel and a licensed driver behind the steering wheel. This then would defeat the very purpose of a self-driven car and Google is not to happy with the proposed law. Though the law is yet to be passed, Google is already against the law.

These vehicles would also be required to go through third party testing to be classified as safe. Other than that, manufacturers will be required to report the data and notify the DMV if they are collecting data beyond what is required.

Since California is the only place in the world where self-driven cars are being tested and have a potential to run in the near future, it is also the only state to have drafted laws for self-driven cars. This means that it is creating an example of rules for the other states that are yet to see these self-driven cars on their streets.

The question here is, is it a good precedent? Google doesn't have steering wheels or pedals on the cars that it is testing. Does this mean Google will not be able to run its cars on the streets of California? Moreover, it is not clear who exactly is the law applicable to? If the law is implied upon private car owners only, then Google may still be able to run its car hailing service. However, it may not be able to lease its cars to private companies for such services and this is one of the things that the firm was counting upon for capital.

Hence, the law does come as a setback and defeats the purpose itself of self-driven cars.

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