Our hopes of one day having flying cars may be more or less dead, but we're still crossing our fingers for vehicles that drive themselves. So is Google — in a big way, in fact. The company is lobbying Nevada to be the first state to allow self-driving, autonomous cars.
Google has had a fleet of self-driving cars for a while now, but so far the company has been limited to simple tests showing off what its six modified Toyota Priuses and Audi TT can do. Well, the company has logged 140,000 miles of road time in California (with at least 1,000 of those miles being fully autonomous), flaunted the tech at TED talks and the like, and now Google wants to roll its cars out onto the open road.
The company has hired Las Vegas-based lobbyist David Goldwater to promote the two bills, which should come to a vote before the state legislature's session ends in June. One bill is an amendment to an existing electric vehicle law; the amendment would permit for the licensing and testing of self-driving cars; the second is an exemption that would allow for texting while driving.
Texting while driving, eh? Is this the start of robots and automated systems enjoying rights greater than those of a human? At the same time, I'd trust one of Google's self-driving vehicles to text as it strolls along more than I would, say, that teenager cruising through a red light because he's looking down at his phone's screen.
In any case, tomorrow's headline: Google now the top automaker in the U.S. thanks to strong sales from its self-driving automobile division.