Google’s self-driving car has been demoed a number of times over the past few years — “Good Morning America” even took it for a spin in 2010. But the pedal’s about to be really put to the metal in Nevada.
Nevada’s Legislative Commission has approved regulations that would allow self-driving vehicles on the state’s roadways.
“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles Director Bruce Breslow said in a statement on the DMV’s website.
“These regulations establish requirements companies must meet to test their vehicles on Nevada’s public roadways as well as requirements for residents to legally operate them in the future,” said Breslow.
But the state is going even further: It is developing “licensing procedures” for companies to test their self-driving cars. Google has already signed on to test-drive its self-driving Toyota Priuses. (Google was behind the legislation lobbying effort.) Car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi are working on similar vehicles.
Drivers will be able to distinguish self-driving test vehicles by their red license plates. When the robotic cars actually make it to market, they will have green license plates.
That, however, is a ways out. Breslow told the Associated Press that these cars aren’t ready for market yet, and Google’s version is still in the prototype phase.
General Motors has predicted the technology will be standard by 2020, which means it will probably be awhile before lots of cars with green license plates are seen zooming around the Silver State.