India could soon see driverless cars on its roads as proposed amendments to the motor vehicles law will empower the government to permit the testing of such vehicles.”The government will allow testing of these vehicles on a case-by-case basis once the law is in place,” according to a top roads ministry official.
“Once cleared, any innovation in transport sector such as semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles, both passenger and commercial, could be tested in India,” cited the above official.
An autonomous or a driverless car is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.Many such vehicles are being developed, but as of February 2017 automated cars permitted on public roads are not yet fully autonomous. They all require a human driver at the wheel who is ready at a moment’s notice to take control of the vehicle.
Autonomous or driverless cars use a variety of techniques to detect their surroundings, such as radar, laser light,GPS,odometry and computer vision.
Benefits of these cars are significant reduction in traffic density,significantly reduced needs for parking space,enhanced mobility for children, the elderly, disabled and poor people,relief of travelers from driving and navigation chores; lower fuel consumption etc.,
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Parliament in August last year and is supposed to facilitate the entire process.
At present, the Bill has been referred to a parliamentary standing committee. However, in order to test automated cars on Indian roads, interested parties need to get the prior approval of the transport department of the union roads ministry.
“In order to promote innovation and research and development in the fields of vehicular engineering, mechanically propelled vehicles and transportation in general, the central government may exempt certain types of mechanically propelled vehicles from the application of the provisions of this Act,” reads a clause in the amendment.
The move will allow Indian car makers and technology firms to join the global race to develop self-driving cars.Globally, carmakers and technology companies including Tesla Motors, China’s Baidu, Google, Uber, Mercedes, Ford and General Motors are working on driverless cars and testing them on city roads across the world.