Google’s self-driving car gets a license in Nevada

Look, ma! No hands!

The state of Nevada has issued a first license for one of Google’s self-driving cars — provided there are two people inside the car at all times, The Associated Press reports.

Nevada’s DMV has issued the license after conducting demonstrations that the car is safe for testing on public streets.

Google’s self-driving cars use a laser radar on the roof of the vehicle to detect obstacles, pedestrians and other cars. With the help of GPS and a bit of artificial intelligence, the car can drive itself with very little or no intervention from the human sitting inside.

That said, Nevada’s regulations require two people in the test cars: one in the driver’s seat, and other monitoring a computer screen that shows the car’s planned route as well as traffic lights and other potential hazards on the road.

As soon as the “driver” touches the brake or the wheel, he takes control of the vehicle.

We had a chance to test out one of Google’s self-driving cars in March 2011, and the results were good: no glitches, no unwanted close encounters with walls or other obstacles.

However, in August 2011 one of Google’s cars caused an accident on the road.


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