Nevada drivers might be seeing a new sight on the roads in the coming months. That state is the first to officially approve self-driving cars to use public roads. This is a necessary first step for Google’s autonomous vehicles to move forward, but other firms are likely to follow suit. Nevada worked with Google, as well as various industry groups and law enforcement to develop the regulations that will govern self-driving cars.
For the time being, all self-driving cars will have a bright red license plate so drivers will be able to identify them. If the vehicles are even approved for public use in the state, those cars will have a green plate. There will be special licensing procedures for companies to go through before self-driving cars can be used in the state. Clearly, everyone is being very cautious, but Google isn’t worried. In 2010 it announced that its self-driving cars had driven 160,000 miles without incident.
Google’s driverless cars make use of range-finding and image recognition technology to stay on the road. Humans will still need to be present in the driver’s seat for now, but who knows how long that will last? Napping on the way to work, anyone?