Google's self-driving car now legal in Nevada

Google's self-driving car is not new. It's been traveling the streets of California for quite awhile now and has a spotless driving record. Up until now, there has been no official licensing process meaning that while the cars can be tested, they can't be legally driven for non-test purposes.

The AP is reporting that Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles has issued the first license to operate a Google car. Although officials were initially skeptical, Google proved that the vehicle was able to safely maneuver through the busy Las Vegas Strip where there's always a stream of people crossing roads and a never-ending parade of cars and bikes. The DMV's director, Bruce Breslow, even commented that the car "gets honked at more often because it's being safe."

While the auto-driving cars can take care of themselves, the Nevada license still requires two people to be in the vehicle at any time for safety purposes. One person is in the driver's seat and can override the computer by tapping the brake or moving the wheel while the second person watches a computer monitor that plots the course the car plans on taking. Once people become more comfortable with the cars, we expect these types of regulations to loosen up a bit.

Is it a good idea to let a computer drive us around? Who is responsible in the case of an accident? How will current laws be applied to self-driving cars? We may need to answer these questions sooner rather than later as Breslow expects the cars will be ready for consumers in less than five years.

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Wow......that was fast. I didnt expect to actually see this technogloy at all while Im alive.


I do want that not only the car, but also the traffic lights, other cars, road, etc be with this system. If all of them can comunicate with each other, then its 99.999999999% safe

This would take 20 years to get some sort of testing approval in the UK, so respect for the USA for allowing this technology to advance.

Just wondering how the LIDAR systems work when there are loads of automated cars around. Will the lasers from others cars confuse the systems at all?

Would love one these though, drive me to work while i sleep.

Nexus1974 said,
Just wondering how the LIDAR systems work when there are loads of automated cars around. Will the lasers from others cars confuse the systems at all?

Would love one these though, drive me to work while i sleep.

As I mention above, I think these cars will be able to communicate with each other and provide more accurate measurements instead of interfere with each other.

Highways, freeways, residential areas I could see these being used. But in downtown city driving I just can't picture it. Way too many variables.

JKuz72 said,
Highways, freeways, residential areas I could see these being used. But in downtown city driving I just can't picture it. Way too many variables.

They proved that it worked on the Strip in Las Vegas -- if you've never been there, it's crazy with a ton of vehicles and pedestrians everywhere.

Fezmid said,

They proved that it worked on the Strip in Las Vegas -- if you've never been there, it's crazy with a ton of vehicles and pedestrians everywhere.

After reading your post I did some reading & watching videos on it. You're right it is impressive even in city driving. Though I wish there was more info on how it handles unique and possible accident situations, etc...

JKuz72 said,
Highways, freeways, residential areas I could see these being used. But in downtown city driving I just can't picture it. Way too many variables.

stop imaging all the variables that the car needs to measure. (although it can do that). Start thinking of a future where all these cars are occupying the downtown areas of large cities and are in direct communication with each other. how does it sound now? instead of measuring variables, you are told what they are an can easily make calculations.

soon as idiot politics are out of the way, these will take off.

if something goes wrong .... where is the blame lie* however u spell that word. IE is the person who owns the car or the company that made the software....?

Imagine what havoc a virus could wreak on a highway full of people with automated cars. I know that one barely-legal road car in Nevada != a world full of these, but give it some time.

Gotta hand it to teh Americans for welcoming tech with arms wide open,... if it was upto the Govt. of my country they would've probably banned toilet flushes!!

Torpid bureaucracy!!

I personally would rather drive a car manually, however I think it is great that software like this is being developed for when the human race gets too lazy to even drive.

Arron said,
I personally would rather drive a car manually, however I think it is great that software like this is being developed for when the human race gets too lazy to even drive.

Or maybe when you just need a break from driving on a 10 hour trip, this gives you the ability to relax for awhile and let the car do the mundane task for you.

Also the systems are less likely to cause a crash then a human... hence the term accident and human error.

xendrome said,

Or maybe when you just need a break from driving on a 10 hour trip, this gives you the ability to relax for awhile and let the car do the mundane task for you.

Yeah, I think it would need to be improved and tested more though before it could possibly be accepted and trusted by citizens as to me i like to have control over the car, I would personally be weary of letting a computer drive the car, however good it is. The fact that the car has been declared legal to drive in Nevada is a step forward into seeing how the car can perform in real life scenarios.

Edited by Arron, May 8 2012, 2:33pm :

Arron said,
I personally would rather drive a car manually, however I think it is great that software like this is being developed for when the human race gets too lazy to even drive.

I think a lot of the idea is a supplementary system, where the car can break earlier, slow down ready for a corner properly, pull over if a driver has a heartattack/falls asleep etc.. All accidents are caused by humans, very rarely from a car being faulty... and even then it's usually because the owner hasn't maintained the car properly.

Arron said,

Yeah, I think it would need to be improved and tested more though before it could possibly be accepted and trusted by citizens as to me i like to have control over the car, I would personally be weary of letting a computer drive the car, however good it is. The fact that the car has been declared legal to drive in Nevada is a step forward into seeing how the car can perform in real life scenarios.

You do realize some trains and most all airplanes are actually computers as humans have very little input

zeta_immersion said,

You do realize some trains and most all airplanes are actually computers as humans have very little input

What does that have to do with a computer controlled car, those vehicles are very different. Trains run on tracks which are easily operated, planes are flown by humans although they have a lot of computer systems installed they are in fact managed and controlled by the pilot and co pilot. Trains and planes are for commercial travel so your point is invalid to this article. There will always be more people driving manual cars than computer software driven cars in this generation. I am not saying they are not safe I just do not think they are practical into todays society and i am not sure whether people will be that accepting of them.

Edited by Arron, May 8 2012, 2:50pm :

xendrome said,

Or maybe when you just need a break from driving on a 10 hour trip, this gives you the ability to relax for awhile and let the car do the mundane task for you.

Also the systems are less likely to cause a crash then a human... hence the term accident and human error.

Sounds good, just realize that you are still responcible for anything the car does. If while you are "relaxing" you end up falling asleep and the car kills someone, that is on you.

Arron said,

Yeah, I think it would need to be improved and tested more though before it could possibly be accepted and trusted by citizens as to me i like to have control over the car, I would personally be weary of letting a computer drive the car, however good it is. The fact that the car has been declared legal to drive in Nevada is a step forward into seeing how the car can perform in real life scenarios.

And yet you're probably happy to be a passenger in another car driven by another human who maybe you don't know, a taxi driver for example or your mate who has had a couple of drinks but says he's good to drive or a person who has only just passed their test and likes the thrill of driving faster than the speed limit but does not have the experience.... etc etc

A system which has been tested and proven to be safer than a human driver is IMO a really good thing and all cars should be made to use it, not only would it save lives, it would improve the flow of traffic due accidents and general bad driving which cause delays. It would save fuel as cars would be being driven more efficiently and economically and it would allow people like the aforementioned person who likes a drink but lives in the sticks where is it hard to get public transport or cabs. (I am one of them) to be driven home safely after a night out. It would also be great for people who can't drive for medical reasons or who just don't want to learn to drive.

I agree it needs more field time but I think it is looking pretty good so far and I think I would probably trust it more than my brother driving for sure.

SonicSam said,

And yet you're probably happy to be a passenger in another car driven by another human who maybe you don't know, a taxi driver for example or your mate who has had a couple of drinks but says he's good to drive or a person who has only just passed their test and likes the thrill of driving faster than the speed limit but does not have the experience.... etc etc

A system which has been tested and proven to be safer than a human driver is IMO a really good thing and all cars should be made to use it, not only would it save lives, it would improve the flow of traffic due accidents and general bad driving which cause delays. It would save fuel as cars would be being driven more efficiently and economically and it would allow people like the aforementioned person who likes a drink but lives in the sticks where is it hard to get public transport or cabs. (I am one of them) to be driven home safely after a night out. It would also be great for people who can't drive for medical reasons or who just don't want to learn to drive.

I agree it needs more field time but I think it is looking pretty good so far and I think I would probably trust it more than my brother driving for sure.

Yeah I am happy to be a passenger while another human has control over the car. However I just think until the time comes when people can have access to one of these cars is the time when we will see the outcome of if they work well in society. I'm all for it, it is a truly great concept. I just think quite a proportionate of people will not really use it because they would want to go at 'their' desired speed or route. I do agree though that they would improve traffic flow and would be more economical, its a step in the correct direction. I just hope they can change peoples minds into buying one of these. Me myself at this present moment would not switch to one of these. Maybe in years to come when a finished model is completed i would consider the car a possibility.