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Nevada Approves Rules for Self-Driving Cars ?

Friday, 17 Feb 2012 | 11:47 AM ET
Car on road
Car on road

The age of self-driven or autonomous cars is here.

Nevada has become the first statein the country to approve regulations that will allow self-driving vehicles on the road in that state.

Some of you will scoff, but the day we see self-driving cars on roads and highways is much closer than you think.

Google has been working on an autonomous car for a couple of years. Back in 2010, it first gave the public a peak at a Toyota Prius it modified with lasers (mounted on the car) and computers. That technology delivered data to the driving system so it computed the speed, direction etc. of the car. In Google’s car, there’s a person in the driver seat or front passenger seat, but they are not controlling the car.

Since then Google has worked with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, automakers, insurance companies and others to develop regulations for self-driving cars. These are the rules for companies to test autonomous cars in Nevada and for general public use.

Initially, when autonomous cars are ready to roll (ok, drive themselves) in Nevada, they will display a red license plate. Someday, when these robo-cars are ready general public use, they will carry a green license plate.

While Nevada is the first state to establish guidelines for autonomous cars, it is not alone. There are several other states considering bills that would set regulations for robo-cars.

Google has already logged thousands of miles testing self-driving cars. CEO Sergey Brin has said he wants the Google autonomous test car to log a million miles without an accident.

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___________________________ Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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