Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nevada / News: Silver State will license robots to drive

Gov. Sandoval escapes from the robot.
From the "brave new world" category comes news that Nevada is now allowing driverless robotic cars to travel its roadways legally. Just look for the bright red license plates, recently approved by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Part of an experiment in automation sponsored by Google, these cars have previously been traveling across the western United States for over 100,000 miles with human minders on board to take over in the event of any mishaps (only two of which have occurred in all those miles, both without injury or damage). While they've been used so far in the pursuit of better data for Google Maps, the eventual intent is to bring them to the mainstream public with the hope of reducing vehicle accidents.

Nevada's plan is to first register these types of vehicles with unmistakable red license plates during the testing phase, and then issue bright green license plates for approved technology at some point (probably many years) in the future. All automated cars currently being licensed for use in Nevada must carry a multi-million-dollar bond against potential damages, and must provide a detailed description of what is being tested.

Sources: Singularity Hub Feb. 22 story, Google news release, Nevada DMV news release.

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