Driverless cars could be coming to a highway near you, at least if you live in Nevada. The state just gave Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) a license to operate autonomous vehicles, cars that run without a human driver.
The purpose behind these new automobiles is to monitor traffic, prevent accidents, and protect the environment by reducing carbon admissions.
A few years ago, one of Google’s key engineers Sebastian Thrun shared a little information about the future of driverless cars in a blog post. He reported that such automated cars would use video cameras, laser range finder, detailed maps, and radio sensors.
The company’s already got a head start on their project. Just a few months ago, they announced their successful completion of over 200,000 miles. Nevada is the first state to allow Google Inc to test-drive their new vehicles after demonstrating on state freeways and highways in Las Vegas and Carson City. Fortunately for people who are nervous about the prospect of driving on a road with autonomous vehicles, they can rest assure that Google’s cars are easy to spot: the red plates are marked with the letters AU(autonomous vehicle) and the infinity symbol. Las Vegas DMV director Bruce Breslow stated that he chose the symbol to represent the future of automobiles.
I will admit that the idea autonomous vehicles driving on the same roads as traditional cars but I think that Google could be on to something in the near future and prove beneficial for many. For instance, it can enable a blind person to live a more self-sufficient life. Less than two months ago, the Los Angeles Times reported a story on a blind man who took the new self-driving car for a spin. Google also posted the video on their official Google+ page. Although I don’t really see these new cars ever replacing original cars, I’m sure that they will make a positive impact in the future of the automotive industry.