Google’s self-driving car rolls forward
Mountain View is currently in discussions with a number of major auto insurance companies about the implications of integrating its autonomous tech into real-world vehicles.
"They see the opportunities for this technology being really positive," Google rep Anthony Levandowski told the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in a statement quoted by the Detroit Free Press.
"From their point of view, this technology is not going to be released until it's safe."
According to Levandowski, Google was also attempting to ascertain just how much insurance rates would vary based on whether a computer or a person is driving.
"I think it's time for us to break that [endless development] cycle and actually bring them to market sooner. I don't think we need to wait 10 years for the next model or body styles to come out to build this technology."
However, Levandowski did concede that Google wasn’t “quite there yet” and acknowledged vehicles may never reach the stage where a driver could sleep away an entire ride.
Nevertheless, the Google rep did term driverless vehicle technology a moral imperative, claiming it would eliminate a "huge chunk" of the more than 30,000 fatalities that occur in vehicle accidents every year across the United States.
"Every year we don't have this technology built, more people die," he added.
Google says it has already completed more than 200,000 miles of "computer-led driving" without incident, as it continues to test drive an autonomous driving system based on complex software system, imaging, sensors and modeling technologies.