Google Snags a New Self-Driving Car Safety ChiefBy: Josh Wolford - November 20, 2012
Google, who has been working very hard to get their self-driving cars on the road, has just made another leap forward for the initiative. Just a couple months after having driverless cars legalized in California, Google has made a significant hire and created a new position inside the company.
Wired reports that Google has snatched up Ron Medford to be the new Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars. Ron Medford is the current Deputy Director of the National highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the report, Medford will resign his position at the NHTSA on November 30th, and officially take the position within Google on January 7th. Serving closely with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Medford used his position to shine a light on the prevalence of distracted driving, as well as push the new fuel economy guidelines set to go into effect in the next decade or so.
Back in September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1298 at Google HQ in Mountain View. That law forces the state to start adopting rules and regulation for the implementation of driverless cars, while also making their operation legal on public roads. California isn’t the only state making significant strides in brining driverless technology to their roadways. Nevada has legalized self-driving cars, begun developing regulations, and issued Google an autonomous vehicle license.
Google, who has logged well over 300,000 miles without incident with their driverless cars initiative, is clearly on the fast track to making all of this a reality. With this new hire, they find a way into the dark, cavernous void of federal governmental policy. Some analysts have predicted that self-driving cars could account for 75% of the traffic on the road by 2040. Maybe that’s not such a far-fetched idea after all.