Nevada – First To License Self-Driving Vehicles
Google Self Driving Cars have been mostly relegated to theory and behind the scenes testing for years within Google’s wondrous research and development labs. For most people self driving or automated cars are a thing of science fiction, but Google is serious about making it a reality.
In May 2011, Google hired lobbyist David Goldwater to present the studies to Nevada and on February 15, 2012, Nevada approved the testing of autonomous vehicles, which can be identified by having a red license plate with an infinity symbol.
Safety Restrictions Should Put Nevada Drivers At Ease
The Nevada license allows Google to test their new technology on the roads of larger cities such as Reno to help the tech giant to establish how the self driving cars function in a real life environment. Nevada has officially announced the regulations in place to permit autonomous vehicles to be driven in Nevada.
There is also the requirement that at least two people be in the self driving cars at all times; one in the driver’s seat (in case of a glitch in the programming) and one in the passenger seat as well.
Safety has been our first priority in this project. Our cars are never unmanned. We always have a trained safety driver behind the wheel who can take over as easily as one disengages cruise control. And we also have a trained software operator in the passenger seat to monitor the software. Any test begins by sending out a driver in a conventionally driven car to map the route and road conditions. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance. And we’ve briefed local police on our work. [source: Google]
Purpose of Google’s Vision For Self-Driving Cars
Google’s goal with the creation of the self driving cars is to create a safer environment for drivers and pedestrians by reducing the risk of driver errors or inattention behind the wheel. Google also wants to give commuters a little extra time while commuting as well as reducing carbon emissions in the environment by fundamentally changing how we commute and drive in general.
We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today. While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science. And that future is very exciting. [source: Google]
What seems to be missing is whether people would accept and desire this technology, since driving to some people is an experience we may not be willing to surrender at any cost.