Nevada, which has been a pioneer for allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles, became the first state in the country to issue a license which will enable Google (and other companies) to test self-driving cars on Nevada roads.
Even so, the average driver won’t be able to head out to their local autonomous car dealership and purchase one anytime soon. As one might expect, this first-of-its-kind license required Google to present extensive documentation showing the safety record of previous tests and how drivers – two of whom will be required to be in the cars while testing – have been trained. Google and other companies looking to test self-driving vehicles in Nevada will also be required to purchase a pricey surety bond.
It seems especially appropriate that Nevada be the first state to take this step, as it hosted the finish line for the early DARPA Grand Challenges, where autonomous vehicle technology really took off. It’s hard to believe that a short eight years ago driverless cars were unable to complete more than 1/8 of a 150-mile course in the Mojave desert, and today they are able to capably share the roads with human drivers.
(Autonomous vehicle photo courtesy of Nevada DMV)