New Zealand is a young country and we've always tried to be on the forefront of new ideas. Whether it's the use of modern fuel cards to ensure the best deals on fuel to buying the latest smart phone, Kiwis are known for always putting one foot in front of the other in the march of progress.
However, it's something in our past that is helping drive us towards being the primary global testing ground for driverless cars – our laws, or rather, our lack of laws. New Zealand has no explicit legislation stating that a car in use on a public road needs to actually have a driver.
A strange oversight with hidden benefits
Let's not blame the lawmakers: We have made enormous leaps and bounds in technology in the last few years, so why would legislators try to future-proof against something so based in science fiction? Perhaps the necessity of a driver for a car was thought to be implied or just simple common sense. Either way, New Zealand is once again relatively unique among nations.
However, this odd oversight may be having hidden benefits. With autonomous cars being placed on the agenda for many countries across the globe, we could soon be seeing an influx of companies wanting to use our already-extensive testing facilities to also put the car of the future through its paces.
A local love story
The idea has also seen local support, with NetGuide reporting that Intelligent Transport Systems New Zealand has thrown its own support behind the new guidelines released by Transport New Zealand explicitly outlining the game plan for testing autonomous vehicles.
So if you see a car seemingly without a driver heading down the motorway, don't do a double take – you are witnessing New Zealand putting the pedal to the metal into the future.