Google's self-driving car
Nevada has issued Google the first license from its Dept. of Motor Vehicles to permit testing driverless vehicles on streets and highways. It's beleived to be the first such license issued anywhere in the U.S.
Nevada's 2011 legislature passed the first law in the nation to permit testing driverless cars, but state regulations do require a human being to be behind the wheel and another in the passenger's seat during tests.
According to DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs, "It's a work in progress. The system regulates the brakes, acceleeration and steering."
The Las Vegas Sun says Google has equipped a fleet of eight test vehicles -- six Toyota Priuses, an Audi TT and a Lexus RX450h. DMV officials have been in the vehicles during demonstrations on the Las Vegas Strip and in Carson City. There have been other demonstrations of the driverless technology on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and around Lake Tahoe.
Nevada's DMV says that license plates issued for driverless cars will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol on the left side that is intended to represent 'the car of the future'.
Google says the system allows a human driver to take control by stepping on the brake or turning the wheel. It hopes to market the technology to auto manufacturers. It combines artificial intelligence software, a global positioning system and an array of sensors to navigate its way through traffic.
And apparently, Google already has plenty of competition lining up too that want to test and develop their own autonomous technology, Jacobs says.
So if you're in Nevada and you notice that the driver in the car next to you isn't paying any attention to the road in front of him --maybe he's preoccupied-- check for the red background in his license plate and you'll be able to relax knowing that there's no human driving at all!