Dezeen's Ross Bryant reports that the U.S. has officially recognized Google's self-driving car as the country's first non-human driver, classifying the artificial intelligence system as the legal driver of the vehicle.
In a letter, which has since been published online, the government agency said it would interpret the "driver" in the context of Google's design as referring to the self-driving system, and not the vehicle's occupants. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced plans to increase the number of driverless cars on its roads.
"Even if it were possible for a human occupant to determine the location of Google's steering control system, and sit 'immediately behind' it, that human occupant would not be capable of actually driving the vehicle as described by Google," said the NHTSA.
"If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the 'driver' as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving."