Nevada embraces driverless cars, issues autonomous vehicle licenses

By on May 8, 2012, 2:00 PM

Nevada -- a gambler's paradise where shotgun weddings run rampant and brothels are legal in half the state -- has added yet another unique attraction under its belt: autonomous vehicles. Nevada is the first state to issue driverless vehicle licenses on public roadways and the first state to officially welcome such vehicles, although existing in rules in some states haven't seemed to explicitly prohibit automated vessels.

Although Nevada appears to be the most zealous state in terms of embracing cars without drivers, there are a number of restrictions which will keep a human (possibly two) in those cars at all times. Just a couple of months ago, the state was the first in the U.S. to pass a set of regulations for the operation of autonomous vehicles. Those regulations seem to spell out the need for two people inside the vehicle -- one person to take manual control when necessary and another person to monitor the course plotted by the computer system.

The state DMV will be issuing special license plates for driverless vehicles. The red-colored plates will prominently display an infinity symbol on the left side -- a curious choice of graphical identifiers and certainly difficult to explain outside of Google's influence. "I feel using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the 'car of the future'," DMV Director Bruce Breslow explained.

The first fully-licensed, autonomous vehicle to hit the roads will be a Googled-up Toyota Prius. DMV officials have already had the privilege of being chauffeured by the LIDAR-dependent driving system.

Although many may think "Google" when talking about driverless cars, it is interesting to note that other companies have applied for autonomous vehicle licenses as well. "The DMV says other companies have indicated their desire to test and develop autonomous technology." claims the Las Vegas Sun. Other sources have indicated that those "other" companies may be BMW, Volkswagen and Audi.

User Comments: 9

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Tygerstrike said:

As a resident of the often burning hot state of Nevada, this is kinda nice to see. Not that I expect many ppl to embrace this tech as redily as they do smart phones. I see this as a great way for some of our more elderly and infirm residents to be able to get around w/o having to worry about killing someone due to lack of reflex response.

Guest said:

Yea, but so far blind and elderly people still will not be able tor drive this car, because you need to have TWO drivers.

Guest said:

"Shotgun weddings run rampant"?? Who is this guy? Nevada has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, hardly a "shotgun wedding" climate! Brothels? Nevada has tons of other features to be known for. Further, for Nevada to be the first to issue these licenses seems remarkably progressive. As a native Nevadan, I take offense to this depiction of Nevada. You are accusing us of the WRONG kind of smarmy.

Guest said:

Google did it first. Google did it best. BMW and the others will add a host of unnecessary features and have to go through years of beta testing to get anywhere near the track record that Google has with these cars. Also, the need for a second person is ridiculous - the cars have a flawless history; only the tester was inattentive enough to crash one while in manual drive. Seriously, awesome tech.

Guest said:

Brothels and shotgun weddings: Nice! Don't apply to write a tourist brochure for my state. Yikes!

Guest said:

Google Car effectively again shows that Google is an engineering company unlike crapple, which clobbers together third party products and takes them to market before testing hoping that they will "just work"...Google Car, Google Earth, not to mention Google Search Engine, Google Docs, Android etc, effectively mean that Crapple and its iCrap (and even Microsoft) are still around because there is "a sucker born every minute"

Guest said:

Please leave this in Nevada and keep it away from Houston Texas. We have one train, on one street, in the middle town with more signs and lights than I can count. So if drivers, pedestrians, and metro buses can't keep from getting hit, an autonomous car doesn't stand a chance! This is moronic. You cannot convince me that this car will react properly to all situations, nor will it have the reaction time of a human being when something unexpected happens. This needs to be rethought.

Guest said:

This is amazing technology and is indeed the 'future of cars'. The requirement for two drivers, I feel, is just a precautionary measure for now, as the technology is still in it's infancy. We are looking at a future where death and destruction will be drastically cut down as well as the cost of auto insurance premiums. The computers will drive the vehicles much more efficiently thereby saving on gas. Real time traffic information will avoid traffic congestion by rerouting an alternate route. Older Americans will now be able to get around much easier without putting us at risk. Dangerous young drivers can now do all the distracting things they normally do, but it won't jeopardize the rest of us. I can only think of all the positives. Sure, it won't be perfect and there will be those that will lament the loss of freedom or control, so it will take awhile for widespread attitude change

Tygerstrike said:

Brothels are only legal in a few counties. I should know, I live in one of those counties. Thank god brothels are legal. We dont have the crime that citys w/o regulated prostitution have. Plus all the girls have to go through health checks every few weeks. It may seem to be immorale, but the lack of crime due to the regulation is nice. Its not out on the streets affecting the children.

As for weddings, Nevada has the highest marrage rate due to all the chapels on the strip and in Reno. would think ppl would leave the bright flashing lights of the slots and maybe poke their heads out of the casino to see some of the wonders Nevada has to offer.

As tourism has blown Chunks the dog since 2008, perhaps this will be another tool the state can use. Maybe make a town that only uses this type of car. Now that would be fun to visit.

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