Self-driving cars would still need drivers in California

-BLOOMBERG BUSINESS, 28 JANUARY 2016, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Google Inc. envisions a world where a blind man can get in his car alone and tell it to take him to the grocery store. California regulators say self-driving automobiles aren’t smart enough yet to zip around town without a driver ready to take the wheel.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is finalizing regulations for the everyday use of autonomous cars with the goal of releasing them in the next year. They would require a licensed driver — and a steering wheel — just in case something goes wrong. Google says the rules limit the technology’s potential.

Bryan Bashin, the 60-year executive director of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who uses a long, white cane to maneuver city streets, said a driverless car “would be one of the biggest advances for the blind since talking computers or even Braille.” It represents freedom from the hassles of public transit and makes suburban destinations attainable, he said. <Read More>