A transportation advocate has advised the government to begin preparing to regulate driverless cars, while warning that they might be running on Canadian roads within four years, highlighting that nobody is currently willing to regulate and plan for such vehicles. A former highway designer who now gives presentations to transportation officials, Paul Godsmark, alleged that “the model that government likes to use in transportation — in trying and testing it and doing the research — we don’t have time for that. It just won’t happen smoothly as we want it to.” It was added that “this technology is going to hit us a bit like a tidal wave. And if we’re ready, great. And if we’re not, tough. It’s coming anyway.”
Google Inc. already has a fleet of more than a dozen computer-controlled vehicles that have accumulatively travelled approximately 483,000 kilometres without an accident. Nevada was the first U.S. state to approve regulations regarding the automated vehicle last year, followed by a requirement by California that asked its Department of Motor Vehicles to draft regulations for autonomous vehicles by Jan. 1, 2015.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario, Bob Nichols, mentioned in an email addressed to The Canadian Press that the province, along with Transport Canada, is evaluating the technology and monitoring developments. Nichols alleged that “the ministry reviews all new vehicle types and technology to determine whether they are safe for Ontario’s roads as well as how safely they can be integrated with other vehicles and pedestrians.”
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