In May 2012, Google's self-driving car underwent a classic American teenage ritual. It took a driving test at a DMV. The car passed, but apparently not without a little lobbying from its parent.
As state officials have monitored the robot car's mileage on public roads, Google has lobbied for the car to get different tests and to report different accident figures than the DMV wants, a new series of reports finds. The reports come from U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests that technology journalist Mark Harris submitted to DMVs and other agencies. Turning to the government let Harris "sidestep Google's secretive PR machine," as he told the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, which recently collected his stories.
Harris' work offers a detailed sense of the car's abilities. It's also a look at Google's lobbying, the extent of which is maybe unsurprising, for a private company, but still interesting.