Nevada to consider legalizing self-driving cars

Posted by Kate Taylor

Google's pushing for driverless cars to be made legal in Nevada.

It's hired lobbyist David Goldwater to promote two bills which should come to a vote by the end of June. One amends existing electric vehicle law to allow the use of driverless cars; the other, rather weirdly, would allow such cars' 'drivers' to text.

Goldwater has been arguing that self-driving cars are safer than conventional cars and could reduce traffic problems as well as greenhouse emissions.

If the bills are passed, Nevada will become the first region in the world where driverless cars are legal for use on the road.

Google has created and demonstrated several self-driving hybrid vehicles, including six Toyota Priuses and an Audi TT. Between them, they've clocked up over 1,000 miles of autonomous driving on roads in California - overseen by a human driver, of course.

The cars boast a laser range finder on the roof, as well as other cameras and radar sensors and computer equiment.

The cars have been developed in conjunction with Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, who makes no secret of his enthusiasm for the concept.

"We’re confident that self-driving cars will transform car sharing, significantly reducing car usage, as well as help create the new “highway trains of tomorrow," he said last year.

"These highway trains should cut energy consumption while also increasing the number of people that can be transported on our major roads."