08 May 2012

If you live in Nevada, get ready to see cars zipping down the highways while the driver relaxes, hands-off.  Nevada has given Google the first U.S. license to test driverless cars.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles announced it has approved Google's application to test the autonomous vehicles on public roads.  The DMV will require at least two people in the vehicle during testing, one being in the driver's seat.

Before this official approval, the car was tested on freeways and neighborhoods near Las Vegas.  Tests showed the car was safe and possibly safer than those driven by humans.  Las Vegas was a good test for the driverless car as there are frequently many distractions for drivers.

Self-driving technology uses a mixture of technology to drive the vehicle.  LIDAR and radar systems on the roof and front of the car is used to detect people, cyclists and other vehicles and obstacles.  If something goes wrong the human driver can take over by tapping the brake or turning the wheel.

Nevada's driverless cars will be indicated by red license plates with an infinity symbol on them.  The infinity means their status is "the car of the future."  Nevada states that if these vehicles are ever driven by the general public the license plates will be green.

Regulations were passed by lawmakers in February.  This made Nevada the first state to set autonomous vehicle testing rules.  It set the requirements for companies to test their vehicles and requirements for legally operating them in the future.

Related - Blind man test drives Google's Driverless Car:

Source:  Time

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