Google has been issued the first autonomous vehicle licence in the US, with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles giving the Google Car the all clear to drive on public roads.
The landmark decision came after the department’s Autonomous Review Committee tested the driverless Toyota Prius-based Google Car on freeways, highways and local roads, including the busy Las Vegas Strip, and approved Google’s driver training, and safety and accident reporting plans.
Nevada DMV director Bruce Breslow issued the first autonomous vehicle licence plate – AU-001 with an infinity symbol and a red background – and described driverless vehicles as the “car of the future”.
“The unique red plate will be easily recognised by the public and law enforcement and will be used only for licenced autonomous test vehicles,” Breslow explained.
“When there comes a time that vehicle manufacturers market autonomous vehicles to the public, that infinity symbol will appear on a green licence plate.”
Google was the first company to file an application with the Nevada DMV to drive its autonomous vehicle on public roads. A number of other car makers have revealed their intentions to develop their own autonomous technology in Nevada in the future.
Nevada’s enthusiasm towards driverless cars sees it at the forefront of the technology’s development.
Earlier this year Nevada proposed a set of draft rules for the operation of autonomous vehicles, ruling that the cars must still have someone sitting behind the steering wheel at all times, the ‘driver’ must conform to the same drink-driving laws, and that each vehicle must be fitted with a black box to record data in the event of a crash.