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Nevada gives Google's driverless car the green light

Warwick Ashford

Driverless cars developed by Google have passed their first driving test in Nevada, where licences for autonomous vehicles came into effect on 1 March.

The new type of licence was approved in 2011, paving the way for Google's self-driving modified Toyota Prius hybrid hatchbacks to take to the road.

The test drive for the vehicles, controlled by computers designed to process mapping data and inputs from various sensors, included a trip along the Las Vegas Strip, according to the Telegraph.

The car uses video cameras mounted on the roof, radar sensors and a laser range finder to "see" other traffic.

According to Google, its autonomous car has covered 140,000 miles with no accidents, other than a bump at traffic lights from a car behind.

The driverless cars, with unique red licence plates, will now be allowed on public roads for further testing by Google engineers.

Google is competing with several car manufacturers and military firms to perfect autonomous vehicle technology.

Nevada is the first state to approve autonomous vehicle licences, but Google's home state of California is said to be considering following suit.

Most vehicle accidents are due to human error, said California state Senator Alex Padilla when he introduced autonomous car legislation in March.  

"Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle is capable of analysing the driving environment more quickly and operating the vehicle more safely," he said.

 


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