The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will consider the software operating Google's pod-like self-driving cars as a driver, according to a letter sent to Google by federal transportation officials, the Washington Post reports.
"We agree with Google its [self-driving vehicle] will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years," the letter reads as cited by the newspaper. "If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the ‘driver’ as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving."
According to the Washington Post, the decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration marks a huge moment for Google and the rest of the auto industry as it races to build the first fully autonomous motor vehicle.
While most other carmakers are building their vehicles with steering wheels, brake pedals and other machinery in mind, Google imagines that its robot car will have none of these things.