Nevada Considering Bills to Make Driverless Cars Legal
Here’s a story that caught our eye. It may not pertain to luxury vehicles, but, as unapologetic car nuts, we thought it was worthy of mention. We also think it’s worthy of condemnation! Reports out of Nevada claim that search engine giant Google has hired a lobbyist to press Nevada lawmakers to pass two bills currently under review. If passed, they would make Nevada the first place on the planet where driverless cars are legal.
One bill would allow the state to license and test driverless cars while the other would provide an exception to the state’s ban on texting while driving. Google claims that since no occupants would be driving the vehicle, texting while seated in the “driver’s seat” cannot be unsafe. One of the Google car creators, Sebastian Thrun, claims that driverless cars could save millions of lives if they become legal and accepted all over the world. He also claims the driverless cars would alleviate traffic problems and allow riders to use their commute time to relax or be productive.
The Google autonomous system has already been tested here in the U.S. and has covered around 140,000 miles. The system uses roof-mounted cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to calculate sudden traffic changes. It can negotiate extremely narrow mountain roads at night, recognize pedestrians crossing the road and avoid accidents. Nevada lawmakers are expected to vote on the bills sometime in June.
It would be an understatement to say that we’re uncomfortable with the idea of a driverless car. While we acknowledge that it might be an upgrade from some maniacal Bay Area drivers, we feel that the technology has a long way to go. We also acknowledge that we’re biased on this subject as we love cars and cannot fathom leaving the driving to a software program somewhere out in cyberspace.
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