(CNN) -- If you want to salute, race or flirt with other drivers in Nevada, you could soon be out of luck with some cars.
That's because on Monday, Nevada became the first to approve a license for "autonomous vehicles" -- in other words, cars that cruise, twist and turn without the need for a driver -- on its roads.
The license goes to Google, the Silicon Valley technology giant known more for its search engine and e-mail service that nonetheless has been known to dive into other big ideas such as space elevators to Internet-enabled glasses.
In a 2010 post on Google's official blog, engineer and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said that the self-driving vehicle project aims "to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use."
He noted that the "automated cars use video cameras, radio sensors and a laser range finder to 'see' other traffic, as well as detailed maps ... to navigate the road ahead." There is no driver needed, though one is typically in the front seat ready to take control if need be.
Earlier this spring, Google said it had "safely completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led driving."
Monday marked a new milestone for the project, when Nevada issued a special license after demonstrations on state freeways, state highways, in Carson City neighborhoods and on Las Vegas' landmark Las Vegas Strip, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles said in a news release.
The new plate is red and features the infinity symbol and the letters AU, for autonomous vehicle. All such cars on the road are "test" vehicles for now, though the state signaled it intends to be "at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development."
"I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the 'car of the future,' " state DMV Director Bruce Breslow said. "When there comes a time that vehicle manufactures market autonomous vehicles to the public, that infinity symbol will appear on a green license plate."
Google was the first company to apply to test its self-driving system in Nevada, the state said, while indicating that "other auto manufacturers have indicated their desire to test and develop" such technology in the state.
I can't help but watch this in sheer amazement. Not in the technology itself, but in the attitude shift of the population. What was once unthinkable has become merely "out there". Soon, folks will only be uncomfortable with it and later it will have wide acceptance.
But not by me.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...
I love driving and going on lapping days as much as the next guy, but sometimes it'd be great to be able to drive to a bar, get ****faced, and not spend $50 on a cab ride home.
this can't happen soon enough.
i wonder if a google retrofit will be free, and where you go to will be their data collection?
Originally Posted by VDub2625
Plastic seat complaints, girly Beetle complaints, diesel awd Scirocco dreams? And then deciding to stay with an old, very well-used wagon instead? Are you the real-life creation of a VW lover's self-parody crossed with every TCLer ever?
This cant come soon enough... i can see a day where there will be:
- less traffic accidents because you take dumb people out of the equation
- much faster speed limits because a computer can react instantly and detect problems much further ahead
- less bad traffic because a computer doesnt do all the things that contribute to bad traffic (slow drivers, frequent lane changes, hesitation, slow reactions)
- You'll be able to call you car to come pick you up from wherever you end up
- You'll be able to get out of you car and have the car go find a parking spot for itself
- You'll be able to send a car to pickup something for you like groceries or drop off kids on its own
- You car will be able to go fill up on gas on its own when its convenient for you (at 2am) or drive to get serviced while you are at work
I would give up driving if I could have the above
Since you put it that way... Sign me up too!
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk and my U S Robotics 14,400 baud modem on aol 2.5