The federal transportation department says that the federal policy surrounding self-driving cars will be ready not in months but in weeks. The agency says that it is vigilant on safety and not worried about innovations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the agency is reviewing existing policy regarding self-driving vehicles. He said that self-diving cars should now be limited only to testing and should not be authorized for use by general public.

The DOT is also revisiting the rule, which says that a licensed driver must be behind the wheels of a self-driving vehicle to take over in case the technology fails.

"I want the posture of our agency to be obviously vigilant on the safety front, but I don't want our agency to be skittish about innovations that are out there," says Foxx.

Many companies are developing futuristic self-driving vehicles. Google has expanded the testing of its self-driving cars beyond its own campus in Mountain View to the streets of California as well as Austin, Texas.

Honda, Nissan and Tesla Motors are also experimenting with self-driving vehicles. However, in all these cases, a licensed driver is always behind the wheels to take over the vehicle if the situation demands so.

In the U.S., most of the regulations pertaining to self-driving vehicles have occurred at the state level. Legislatures in Florida, California, Michigan, the District of Columbia and Nevada have passed their own bills, which regulates autonomous driving in individual states. Several other states have also considered such legislation. However, the federal agency has a different opinion regarding the decision making powers of individual states in this matter.

Google has been pushing hard to get self-driving cars to the public as soon as possible. The Internet giant believes that self-driving cars should make way to the streets once these cars are safe enough to drive like humans.

At this point of time it remains unclear what the new policy will state. Foxx says that the agency will put forward new policy regarding self-driving vehicles in "weeks, not months."

Photo: Travis Wise | Flickr

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