The state of Nevada is well known for gambling, but the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles seems to think Google’s driverless car is a sure thing. The state has issued Google’s self-driving cars driver’s licenses.
Google closer to becoming self-aware, unleashing Terminators
Some people joke that Google, just like the fictional Skynet computer network in the “Terminator” films, will eventually become self-aware and unleash robot terminators upon the earth to slaughter and subjugate mankind. It appears much more possible than one might think.
It is well known that Google has a fleet of self-driving cars. The vehicles have been in testing in California and Nevada, driving around with people riding in the driver’s seat without doing much. The Nevada state legislature, according to Slashgear, authorized the cars to operate on the state’s roads. California, according to AutoGuide, has legislation up for a vote that would similarly authorize the driverless cars on the road.
Google’s fleet includes, according to Time magazine, six Toyota Prius hybrids, a Lexus RX450h and an Audi TT. Those cars now have a Nevada driver’s license.
Google cannot simply send its cars driving around the Nevada countryside as it pleases; Nevada mandates that two passengers must be in the car at all times, including one in the driver’s seat. One of the positives is that now there are at least eight cars that can be relied upon to actually use the turn signal.
According to The Telegraph, the cars even went through driving tests. An official from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles rode along in the car and was thoroughly impressed by how well one of Google’s Prius hybrids drove. The cars will get special Nevada plates, colored red with the mathematical symbol for infinity on them.
The cars use GPS and Google Maps along with automation that controls the steering, acceleration and braking, according to AutoGuide. However, a human occupant can presume control at any moment, by tapping the brake or moving the steering wheel, just like with cruise control.
Better than most humans
There has been only one accident in 140,000 miles of operation, which wasn’t even caused by the car. Another driver rear-ended one of the cars at a stoplight. There is a rumor that a circuit board got whiplash.
Self-driving car technology has been developing for decades, but recent advances make it seem closer than ever before. General Motors, according to USA Today, is currently working on a “cruise control plus” system, called Super Cruise. Super Cruise uses sensor technology, a lot like the Google driverless cars, to perform certain steering, braking and lane-centering actions under optimal highway conditions, allowing hands-free driving. Some of the sensor technology used in Super Cruise is debuting in the Cadillac ATS and XTS sedans later this year.
The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9252275/Googles-robot-cars-pass-driving-test.html
USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/04/google-driverless-car-free-rides/1#.T6lD1GU3vcs
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