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Reports US

US stock market daily report (June 11, 2014, Wednesday)

June 12, 2014, Thursday, 06:42 GMT | 01:42 EST | 10:12 IST | 12:42 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

Unless you live in a cave, you know that Google Inc. (GOOG-Nasdaq) has designed a gumdrop-shaped, two seat self-driving car with no steering wheel, no pedals and hits a top speed of 25mph. The search engine giant plans to build and test nearly 200 of the driverless cars. The first test self-driving cars from Google will have manual controls for the test drivers to override the cars' autonomous driving systems, as required by current California law. The bulk of the fleet will be self-driving cars that function on auto-pilot, have no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedal. Google said on its blog about the car, "We're going to learn a lot from this experience, and if the technology develops as we hope, we'll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely." Google's testing program is set to begin this summer, with a handful of prototypes hitting the roads around Google's Mountain View, California headquarters.

Google said it wants to develop self-driving software that will "improve road safety and help people who can't drive." Google wrote in their blog, "We've been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving. They will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people." Self-driving cars from Google will have sensors that eliminate blind spots and look in every direction for more than 200 yards. The self-driving cars are built in Michigan using parts from suppliers to mainstream brands however, electronics and software to control the cars are assembled in Silicon Valley.

CDMV regulations governing testing of driverless cars on California highways is set to take effect September 16, 2014. Rules governing the public operation of self-driving cars are expected to be adopted by January 1, 2015, per California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Main rules for self driving cars by CDMV include that the manufacturer must use specially trained test drivers who sit in the driver's seat who can take control of the vehicle; manufacturer must report any accidents or situation in which the autonomous technology disengages during operation to CDMV and that the manufacturer is required to maintain $5 million in insurance or surety bonds.

Consumer Watchdog wants CDMV to extend Google's testing for at least 18 months under new regulations and another six months for the DMV plus, allows time for the public to analyze the test results before an autonomous vehicle could be offered to the public. The group feels state regulators don't have enough time to review Google's testing of the car on the streets in California.

In a letter addressed to CDMV Director Jean Shiomoto from Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director John M. Simpson wrote, "We urge the DMV to follow a sensible and deliberate approach that would require adequate testing and time to analyze the test results. We call on the DMV to ensure the safety of the public is put well ahead of the self-serving agendas of the (manufacturers)." Simpson added, "There would be no way for an occupant to take control in an emergency; occupants would be captives of Google's technology, completely at the Internet giant's mercy."

Several automakers reportedly expect to have self-driving, fully autonomous cars on the road by 2020. Numerous features from the self-driving car from Google already appear on cars on the highway.