Nevada Enacts Law to Let Cars on Roads without Human Drivers

By Ed Silverstein July 15, 2011

Nevada believes in gambling. So now the state has passed a law that allows for a bit of a gamble on the road: cars that can drive themselves. They are called “autonomous vehicles.”

The Huffington Post says autonomous vehicles may be found traveling on Nevada roads as early as March 1, 2012. The law directs the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to set up regulations authorizing the use of autonomous vehicles. The DMV will even come up with a “driver's license for such vehicles,” according to autoblog.

It’s not an episode of the Twilight Zone. But autoblog notes that “the driverless car is itself still a long way from reality.” For example, Google's autonomous vehicles have driven a total 140,000 miles.

In 2010, Google said, “We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today. While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science.”

The “autonomous vehicles” use “artificial intelligence” to drive on roads, explained SmartPlanet.

The cars can “safely navigate the road using an array of hi-tech equipment such as video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic, as well as detailed maps” and information from data centers, Google said, according to SmartPlanet.

One added plus with autonomous cars – people inside the cars can text on their phones. There are other benefits, too, according to TechZone360’s Cheryl Kaften, such as cars being able to drive closer together.

“Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated,” she added.

She noted, too, that over 37,000 people died in U.S. car accidents in 2008.

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Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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