This Could Be Huge for Google Stock
It was a big week for Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) last week, as the company received a nod from the authorities. Holders of Google stock might be in for a joy ride, as Google prepares to turn its biggest dream to reality.
The biggest question mark on Alphabet’s self-driving technology was struck off on Wednesday.
Rewind back two months, when the market almost gave up hope on Alphabet’s dream project. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles made an intention to stop Google from deploying driverless cars on the road. (Source: “California DMV wants to ban Google’s proposal for self-driving cars without manual driving controls,” 9to5Google, December 17, 2015.)
The authorities wanted to impose a restriction under which a licensed driver would have had to sit behind driving controls, even if the car was running autonomously. This contrasted Google’s plan, because Google’s definition of a driver was different.
According to Google’s plan, its autonomous driving cars were to be driven by an artificially intelligent computer system that could control and perceive every aspect of driving in real-life conditions.
The state’s plan was soon thwarted when President Obama revealed his commitment to autonomous driving technology. (Source: “President Obama wants to fund trains and self-driving cars with a new oil tax,” The Verge, February 4, 2016.)
Following the President’s commitment, the U.S. government has now given a green signal to Google.
On Wednesday, Paul Hemmersbaugh, chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sent a letter to Google’s Chris Urmson, who is in charge of the self-driving car project. In his letter, Hemmersbaugh affirmed that the government now agrees with Google’s definition of a “driver,” which could be either a human or a computer.
In other words, Google’s robotic drivers will now be officially considered equivalent to human drivers. (Source: “Government will consider Google computer to be car’s driver,” Yahoo! Finance, February 10, 2016.)
“NHTSA will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS (self-driving system) and not to any of the vehicle occupants,” wrote Hemmersbaugh.
Hemmersbaugh acknowledged that technological advancements in the automobile industry have rendered many old definitions obsolete: “We agree with Google its SDV [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,” continued Hemmersbaugh.
The letter goes on to discuss the nitty-gritty of the project, but long story short, Google is now in a position to put its project into second gear. The added momentum, here and onwards, will shorten the company’s journey toward its ultimate destination.
Rest assured, we might be seeing science fiction coming to life much earlier than expected. The biggest beneficiaries will obviously be the owners of the technology—that is, holders of Google stock.