Robotics expert: Self-driving cars not ready for deployment

Google self-driving car
FILE - In this May 13, 2015, file photo, Google's self-driving Lexus car drives along a street during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. Google has spent six years working on cars that can drive without human assistance. But the company says it doesn’t want the responsibility of building the robotic vehicles. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A robotics expert is warning against a rush toward widespread deployment of self-driving cars, saying they are “absolutely not” ready.

The director of Duke University’s robotics program, Missy Cummings, told the Senate’s commerce committee the cars aren’t yet able to handle driving in bad weather, including standing water, drizzling rain, sudden downpours and snow. She says they certainly aren’t equipped to follow a policeman’s directions.

She also says it’s relatively easy for hackers to take control of the GPS navigation systems of self-driving cars. Privacy of personal data is another concern.

General Motors and Google officials say they’re concerned that a patchwork of state and local laws regarding self-driving cars will hinder deployment. They want federal regulators to speed up rules to help get the vehicles on the road.

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