Nevada may become the first place of business for Google’s self-driving cars. A recent article by John Markoff in The New York Times discusses the Internet giant’s new branch of business and how the company is currently lobbying state lawmakers to pass legislation that will make it possible for the robot cars to be tested and eventually used in Nevada. The company claims the cars will be safer than those driven by people and will lead to less car accidents and injuries on Nevada’s roads.
A Las Vegas-based lobbyist hired by Google spoke before the State Assembly last April in support of two bills that would pave the way for the robot cars. One of the bills would make it legal to license and test autonomous vehicles. Another bill would add an exception to the state’s ban on texting while driving to say that a driver behind the wheel of a robot car could text.
Google says that their robot cars will be safer than cars driven solely by humans. The car works by collecting information from satellites on its location and direction. Other sensors on the car help it to know what is around the car and help it move safely through space. Google says that robot cars will be more reliable and safer drivers than humans who get sleepy or distracted.
The article did not say why Google chose Nevada to be the first state besides California to test the vehicle, but the car is still being tested and will likely not be commercially available for a number of years. The legislation will make it possible to test the car, but is also clearing the way for further legislation around autonomous vehicles in Nevada. This is a proactive move by Google; public policy analysts say that transportation laws are far outpaced by the speed new technology is being developed.
Google Lobbies Nevada to Allow Self-Driving Cars (The New York Times)