Could there be a better fit for self driving cars, than Nevada? You go to Vegas. You party hard. You can’t drive back to your hotel. You get a self-driving car to do the work for you! Seriously, Nevada is the first state in the union to pass legislation for the testing/deployment of self-driving cars throughout the state. This does not mean that you can go down to your local dealer and get a Google branded Passat that will drive you all over the place – this is just the first step to making self-driving cars legal.
“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” Department of Motor Vehicles Director Bruce Breslow said. “These regulations establish requirements companies must meet to test their vehicles on Nevada’s public roadways as well as requirements for residents to legally operate them in the future.”
During the testing phase, these self-driving cars will have red license plates, which will turn to green once the cars have passed the appropriate testing and deemed safe. Up until now, there has only been one accident involving Google’s self-driving car and not surprisingly, it was due to human error and not the fault of the car itself – no points on its record…..yet.
The system combines information gathered from Google Street View with artificial intelligence software that combines input from video cameras inside the car, a LIDAR sensor on top of the vehicle, radar sensors on the front of the vehicle and a position sensor attached to one of the rear wheels that helps locate the car’s position on the map. As of 2010, Google has tested several vehicles equipped with the system, driving 1,609 kilometres (1,000 mi) without any human intervention, in addition to 225,308 kilometres (140,000 mi) with occasional human intervention, with one of two accidents occurring when another car crashed into the rear end of a test vehicle that was stopped at a red light and the other accident occurring while the car was being manually driven. Google anticipates that the increased accuracy of its automated driving system could help reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths, while using energy and space on roadways more efficiently…
Google is pushing hard for the deployment and acceptance of its technology and I have no doubt that if the first couple waves of state-wide testing go well, we could see rapid deployment of self-driving cars over the next 5 years – especially for mass transit. I foresee a massive taxi and bus driver revolt!
The original Self-Driving Car