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Google gets first license for self-driving cars

Google gets first license for self-driving cars

Nevada issues license for Google to test autonomous cars on state roads, highways

The people of Nevada may be in for a surprise when they drive to the market or down the highway -- driverless cars.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles on Monday issued to Google the first state license, and possibly the first in the nation, to test autonomous vehicles.

"It's still a work in progress," said Tom Jacobs, a DMV spokesman, told the Las Vegas Sun. "The system regulates the brakes, accelerator and steering."

Last summer, Nevada lawmakers passed Bill 511, which authorized the state's DMV to begin formulating a set of rules of the road for autonomous, or self-driving vehicles.

It was the first step toward getting autonomous cars, which are designed to use artificial intelligence, computer sensors and GPS instead of human drivers, on the state's roadways.

Google could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Last month, Google executives went to Detroit looking for partners in the company's efforts to develop autonomous vehicles. Anthony Levandowski, head of Google's self-driving car project, told an audience there that the company would like to get self-driving cars on the road within the next decade.

A Google spokesman told Computerworld last month that the company has been reaching out to auto companies but is still keeping its options open.

DMV officials have taken test drives in Google's autonomous vehicles, traveling on the famous Las Vegas strip, according to reports.

However, Jacobs said Google isn't the only one talking with state officials about self-driving cars. According to the Sun, other companies have approached them about developing and testing their own autonomous cars. "Google has a lot of competition," Jacobs said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.


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