A vehicle driven by Google technology has received the first autonomous vehicle license to be issued in the United States, clearing the way for more self-piloting vehicles to be operated on America's roadways. The technology was approved for a vehicle license after officials experienced the vehicle's ability to handle a variety of driving situations, including in-city, highway and neighborhood roadways.
Skepticism abounds as to whether these vehicles will be as effective as humans at evading scenarios leading to car accidents, but the approval of a self-driving license for a vehicle means Baton Rouge and other cities may soon see cars that drive themselves.
Google is not the only company developing -- and seeking licensing of -- robotic vehicles, but it is viewed as one of the leaders in the industry, particularly now that they have the first and only approved license. Google's self-driving vehicles utilize a variety of technology, including video cameras, lasers, radar sensors and a host of information culled from manually driven vehicles.
The vehicle receiving the first self-driving license is a Toyota Prius that has been outfitted with Google's technology.
Officials involved in the licensing of the Google-operated vehicle said that they are prepared for autonomous vehicles to become widely used by public citizens. Several states are considering, or have already approved, legislation clearing the way for these vehicles to be implemented.
Some politicians who support the use of autonomous vehicles have noted that the majority of motor vehicle accidents are the product of human error. Autonomous vehicles, they argue, could reduce accident rates and lead to increased roadway safety.
Source: Newsday, "Google gets first self-drive car license in Nevada," Reuters, May 8, 2012