Google confident regulatory barriers can be overcome and self driving cars will be on streets by 2017-2020

Google says its self driving cars should be on public roads within five years without having to drive through a thicket of regulatory red tape.

Speaking at a conference in Detroit, the chief of the software giant’s autonomous-car project, Chris Urmson, indicated widespread auto industry concern about regulation of self-driving cars is overblown. The onus, he said, is on developers of these vehicles to tackle safety challenges and work to boost public acceptance.

“We believe there are places in the U.S. where this is legal,” Mr. Urmson said, declining to elaborate further, such as how the cars are licensed

In addition to safety and public acceptance, Mr. Urmson said the expense of such vehicles is also an obstacle. The cluster of radars and lasers that sits above the car costs about $75,000 today, but that cost is likely to come down with higher production volumes.

Google has been knocking on doors among the more established auto industry players to find help making a driverless car on a larger scale. General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are among the auto makers who say they have discussed the topic with Google.