Robot Cars Approved for Nevada Roads

The future is here! Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles has signed-off on regulations approving self-driving cars. You heard me right. Drivers may soon be sharing their roads with robot cars.

The rules govern test vehicles, one of which has already been built by Google, and will ultimately cover robot cars to be released on the market for consumer use. You’ll be able to tell them apart from manually-driven vehicles simply by the color of their license plates: red for test models and green for the final product.

“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” said the Nevada DMV director in a statement. “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,” he continued.

Companies testing these auto-piloted vehicles have to put up a $1 million to $3 million bond and equip their cars with special data collectors. The test cars are required to host at least two occupants should something go wrong, but when the car is finally fully approved and the production model hits the streets, owners will be able to operate it “without being physically present.”

In August of 2010, Google stated that its automated cars had driven more than 160,000 miles with little need for driver intervention, and indeed with no accidents. Though a video released showed that one of Google’s cars had been involved in a fender-bender, Google blamed the human operative rather than the vehicle’s automated systems.

I will say this once and only once. I knew it would be robots instead of zombies.

Looking forward to buying your very own grown-up RC car?