By Jennifer Geiger on February 17, 2012
The state of Nevada is preparing for the day when self-driving cars move from the world of sci-fi to real life, the Associated Press reports. It recently became the first state to create regulations for companies interested in testing self-driven cars on public roads.
The state acknowledges that automakers aren't close to getting this technology to market, but Nevada wants to have laws in place when -- and if -- it happens. Regulations approved by state officials include requiring companies to secure a bond of $1 million to $3 million, detail their specific plans and intended test locations, and provide all collected data to the state. Nevada also requires that during testing, two passengers will always be in the car, in case one needs to override the controls.
If cars like these ever hit the market, Nevada's regulations also stipulate that people operating them need to have a special license and the cars have to contain a "black box," a type of data collector.
Though driver-less cars sound far-fetched and futuristic, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval recently caught a ride in a prototype. Google is currently testing a self-driving Toyota Prius. It uses radar functionality, sensors and computers to map the terrain, allowing it to drive on autopilot.
GM is also working on fully autonomous vehicles. In 2007, GM worked with Carnegie Mellon University on a Chevrolet Tahoe that can drive itself. Called the Boss, the Tahoe was able to drive through 60 miles of urban traffic on its own.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer