By Ed Oswald | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm
Google is lobbying the Nevada legislature to pass legislation that would make it the first state to allow the operation of robotically controlled cars on its roads. The company wants to be at the forefront of this: Harry’s post from last October reported on Google’s efforts to develop self driving technology.
It’s not really clear what business a search company has in developing robotic technologies, but hey, nobody ever said that Google shouldn’t attempt to expand its business. It needs the go-ahead by public officials before anything could happen.
Passengers in robotically controlled vehicles would be exempt from current “distracted driving” laws, and would set up standards to test and certify these vehicles for use on public roads. Google isn’t saying much, just saying the project is in its testing phases.
Why would Google pick Nevada? One can only guess. The Bonneville Salt Flats are in neighboring Utah. Maybe Google sees an attraction for these cars among the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas or Reno? Or maybe the company sees Nevada as the most open to something like this.
So far, Google-powered robotic cars have been test driven about 140,000 miles on California roads — obviously without the behest of officials, and with a human close by in case the system breaks down. A Google engineer has also tested automated driving on his 50-mile commute from Berkley to Mountain View.
How do you feel about this? Would you give up the pleasure of driving — your fahrvergnügen as VW so famously sloganed in the 1990s — to a computer? Are we becoming too lazy? I’d like to hear your opinions.