Google now has exactly what it needs to get any further in their development of their autonomous vehicle program. Like any nervous 16 year old, Google’s self-driving car passed its first driving test in Nevada, the first of its kind in the U.S. With this car license, Google can now test the autonomous technology on public roads in Nevada. The nervous parents, Google, waited for the go-ahead after the car completed two triumphant drives on Las Vegas’ strip and in Carson City.
If the radar and video recording equipment strapped to the roof didn’t already set this Toyota Prius apart from all other cars on the road, it’s also equipped with a special, red license plate. The license plate number is AU (autonomous vehicle) 000 with a stretch of road twisted into an infinity sign.
The first victory for the autonomous car came last summer when Nevada policymakers passed laws allowing cars of its kind to be tested on shared roads. Then earlier this year, Nevada’s DMV set forth the governing rules regarding self-driving vehicles. For now, the main rule for the new self-driving licensing program is that they’re only allowed to test the cars. Other requirements for the cars to gain approval for road use are that they must drive at least 10,000 miles prior to their test and that the operators provide detailed descriptions of their technology, safety plan, and how they will hire and train the test drivers. Laws also require that all vehicles being tested must hold two passengers, a driver and a back-up driver, for now.
Financial requirements are the $100 fee for licenses and an additional $13 for each pair of license plates. A compulsory certainty bond of $1 million is also required for companies wanting to test up to five autonomous cars. According to Nevada there are several other unnamed companies who plan to follow Google’s lead and test their cars in the state.
Google asserts that they don’t intend for the self-driving capabilities to replace human drivers but aid them. If a driver needs to send a quick message or change their GPS program, the car can take over for a minute. Though they only recently got the OK to drive their cars on Nevada, they were a major influence on the state’s lawmakers and have been testing autonomous vehicles on secret locations and on their campuses for years.
If you’re ready to run out and buy a self-driving car or work on building you own, Nevada only allows test models on the road for now but is enthusiastic about the day that autonomous vehicles are made available to the public. They plan to issue the cars a green license plate with the same symbol and they will require drivers pass an additional driving test to obtain a license to operate a self-driving vehicle.
And if you’re actually building your own car, self- or human-controlled, check out where you can find used motors and transmissions in your area on www.asapmotors.com. You enter your car’s make and model and it will compile a list of the parts for you to browse.