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Google Gets Driverless License For Nevada Roads 215

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-officer-the-car-was-driving dept.
Fluffeh writes "On Monday, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles approved Google's license application to test autonomous vehicles on the state's roads. The state had approved such laws back in February, and has now begun issuing licenses based on those regulations. The state previously outlined that companies that want to test such vehicles will need an insurance bond of $1 million and must provide detailed outlines of where they plan to test it and under what conditions. Further, the car must have two people in it at all times, with one behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle if needed. The Autonomous Review Committee of the Nevada DMV is supervising the first licensing procedure and has now approved corresponding plates to go with it, complete with a red background and infinity symbol."
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Google Gets Driverless License For Nevada Roads

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  • 2 people (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobcat7677 (561727) on Monday May 07, 2012 @06:54PM (#39921353) Homepage
    TFA fails to mention why two people are required in the test vehicle. I can understand having a "driver" that can take over if something goes wrong, but what is the purpose of the 2nd person?
    • Re:2 people (Score:5, Informative)

      by cosm (1072588) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3msoceht.> on Monday May 07, 2012 @06:59PM (#39921433)

      TFA fails to mention why two people are required in the test vehicle. I can understand having a "driver" that can take over if something goes wrong, but what is the purpose of the 2nd person?

      To hold the driver's beer. It's Nevada, common now...

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        To hold the driver's beer. It's Nevada, common now...

        Having a second person to hold the driver's beer is common in Nevada? They outlawed cupholders there?

    • Probably for the same reason airliners have two pilots -- so the first guy doesn't just turn on autopilot and go to sleep.
    • Re:2 people (Score:5, Insightful)

      by joggle (594025) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:23PM (#39921745) Homepage Journal

      My guess is because the license will be granted with the understanding that it's a research vehicle. Someone will likely want to be closely monitoring the output of the car's instruments, so this insures one guy can do that while the other focuses on the road.

      If there wasn't this requirement, one guy could conceivably monitor the instruments and not pay attention to the road since the car is driving itself.

      • If there wasn't this requirement, one guy could conceivably monitor the instruments and not pay attention to the road since the car is driving itself.

        Yet half the drivers on the roads in Las Vegas, Nevada are TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONE instead of paying attention to the roads! Even after it was made illegal! And many of them can't even maintain a normal speed or sometimes even lane position! Nevermind being able to react to anything around them.

        The penalty is a fine, but perhaps it should be having the pho

        • Well yeah, that is kind of a given around the country, or probably the world. In almost every scenerio I would imagine the self driving cars will outperform real drivers, but the first major accident will lead to a large amount of controversy where people are judging are these things safe on the road, even if their miles/accident ratio is 1/100th of a humans. I suppose that is humans natural inclination to prefer when faced with risks, a statistical 5% chance of killing themselves from their own fault, over
          • by Belial6 (794905)
            I'll agree with the flying part, but I have yet to see any report on gun safety that doesn't use confirmation bias when reporting that owning a gun is more dangerous than not. 99.999% of all incidents where a gun is used to thwart an intruder is never reported. Most of the time the gun owner doesn't even know it happened, or the gun that thwarted the intrusion wasn't even in the house that it thwarted the intrusion for.
    • by Radak (126696)

      It's because the real purpose of the vehicle is to drive around and show off to everyone that guy who uses Google Plus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      Creating two new jobs for every single one lost. This sounds like this would be the work of some of very forward-looking Teamsters.

    • I can understand having a "driver" that can take over if something goes wrong, but what is the purpose of the 2nd person?

      The 2nd person is there to help disassemble and hide the car in case it startles a horse.

    • The second person is required to walk in front of the car and wave a red flag to warn of the approaching self propelled automobile. How else would someone know one was coming?
  • Here, cars might as well be driverless as a staggering fraction of the drivers should never be licensed any ways. I figure the driverless car is likely a lot less likely to cause the kind of traffic accidents that are caused here every day by the ones with drivers in them, and also less likely to injure me or any actual skilled driver either.
  • Bad headline (Score:4, Informative)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:19PM (#39921701)

    Google Gets Driverless License For Nevada Roads

    1. It is not driverless as there has to be a driver behind the wheel at all times.
    2. From the term "driverless license" it seems that they are comparing it to a "driver's license" which is not true. What is actually being issued is an "autonomous testing business license and license plates:.

    It is a license to test autonomous vehicle under very strict guidelines.
    A much better headline would have been "Google gets license to test autonomous vehicles on Nevada roads"; less flashy but much more accurate

  • by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:38PM (#39921903)
    Congrats to Google and Nevada for getting this going.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:51PM (#39922015)

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  • What next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:55PM (#39922053) Journal
    First a horseless carriage, now a driver-less car?

    Next thing you know there will be a box that just sits in front of you, with a window to the world!
  • As the sign on the back of the vehicle in the article shows it's "self driving". This is not as driverless or autonomous as has been applied to airplanes up till now. If / when cars like these are available to purchase, that's a big difference. This is essentially autopilot, though a pretty advanced one with collision avoidance. Airplanes have had autopilot for decades now, and they are viewed very differently from AUVs or drones.

    The State of Nevada does refer to them as autonomous though. The requireme

    • by dave420 (699308)
      The license treats the vehicles as a research project, hence the requirement of two people. Don't confuse this with the finished product, and planes have entirely fuck-all to do with this.
  • How long until Google decides all of the self-driving cars they've tested and people have used for 7 years with no problems need a massive overhaul and they decide to completely re-do the API interface unnecessarily, completely breaking usability for everyone, causing the cars to be impractically difficult to use and resulting in possible accidents?

    Given Google's track record with the new GMail interface change, I can't say I'd be comfortable sitting in a car running their software, ever. You just don't
    • Given Google's track record with the new GMail interface change, I can't say I'd be comfortable sitting in a car running their software, ever. You just don't change software that's business-critical willy nilly like that. You just don't. Ever.

      Like the kernel module interface in Linux or library ABIs?

      • by jmerlin (1010641)
        Projects which Google owns entirely vs projects to which they merely contribute. Apples meet oranges.
  • Oh man, using an infinity symbol probably seemed such a cool idea when the high tech-ness of it all impressed the authorities. But you know it's going to be a pain when the next generation of even more high tech even more whizzy road vehicles comes along. Oh heck, they'll need plates with "Infinity plus one" . Doh! Bad idea :-)

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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