Google’s driverless cars approved in Nevada

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 27, 2011

Driver-less vehicles from Google will soon be seen in Nevada after state legislators passed a bill that requires the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to draw up rules for this type of vehicles. Assembly Bill No 511 clears up the way for the legal operation of Google's automated Toyota Priuses and Audi TT in the Silver State.

To get from one point to the other, the hybrid vehicles make use of detailed maps and laser range finders and video cameras to become aware of traffic. The car owner merely has to set the destination and the car finds the route and drives there.

The first amendment, which got the approval last week, is related to an electric-vehicle bill that covers the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles. The second amendment has yet to be passed.

It asks for an exemption that would allow the sending of a text message while 'behind the wheel'. Google had gotten the services of Las Vegas-based lobbysit David Goldwater for the promotion of this legislation. Last April, Goldwater told lawmakers that the self-driving cars are more fuel efficient and are safer than those driven by humans.

Google got into some controversy last year when it came out that staff had tested the self-driven car on California's roads. The vehicles were driven more than 140,000 miles around the state, and were in auto-pilot most of the time.

The specially-adapted Toyota Priuses was driven from Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Northern California, and on to the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica.

The vehicles crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and down to San Francisco's Lombard Street, which is famous for being one of the steepest and curviest roads in the world. Google said that seven cars, which have funnel-like cylinders on the roof that acts as the vehicle's 'eye', were driven 1,000miles.

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