Company could be moving closer to bringing the technology to the public.
Google's autonomous driving project is starting to go mainstream as the company has hired lawyer Kevin Vosen to serve as the its general counsel.
The move might sound dull but Fortune notes Vosen's appointment is particularity interesting as the company has "never had one [lawyer] dedicated to the project full time and of this level of seniority." This has led to speculation that the project is, as the publication calls it, shifting from a "moonshot to company."
The move comes at an interesting time as semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous driving systems are facing increased scrutiny from regulators. Besides the highly-publicized crash that claimed the life of a Tesla Model S owner, the Department of Transportation has been working to develop guidelines for how autonomous driving systems are tested and regulated.
The guidelines are expected to be released later this month and could help to serve as a model to streamline rules and regulations related to autonomous driving. This is important as the United States currently has a patchwork of laws related to autonomous driving and the technology is advancing faster than lawmakers have been able to keep up. Google is obviously concerned about this as the company reportedly wants to commercialize self-driving cars by 2020.