On February 4th, NHTSA told Google in a letter that it agreed to consider a Google self-driving computer system as the “driver” of the vehicle. But the agency stopped short of agreeing to immediately waive all safety rules needed to allow fully self-driving cars on the roads as sought by Google.
In its Feb. 4 response, NHTSA offered its most comprehensive map yet of the legal obstacles to putting fully autonomous vehicles on the road. It noted existing regulations requiring some auto safety equipment, requirements for braking systems activated by foot control. These cannot be waived immediately. Federal regulations requiring equipment like steering wheels and brake pedals would have to be formally rewritten before Google could offer cars without those features.