Nevada Looking To Proactively Legalize Autonomous Cars

from the paving-the-road-to-the-future dept

There's been a lot of advancement lately in the field of autonomous cars. The DARPA Grand Challenge a few years ago convinced many people that autonomous vehicles were possible and since then we've been seeing more and more work on concepts around such vehicles, including Google's secret testing of its own autonomous cars and some other researchers doing an autonomous drive from Italy to China. However, with Google, it needed to get special permission to take the car out on the roads, and apparently some politicians in Nevada are working hard to court autonomous vehicle manufacturers to its state. They've put together a bill that would make it easier to get autonomous vehicles on the road in the state, by setting up a process to "authorize" such vehicles, and allow them to operate on Nevada highways.

As Ryan Calo notes in his post (the one linked above) about this, it's great that Nevada is taking a proactive approach, however, he does worry about some of the broad language:
The bill's definition of autonomous vehicles is unclear, even circular. Autonomous driving exists on a spectrum. Many vehicles available today have autonomous features, while falling short of complete computer control. Surely the bill's authors do not intend to require that, for instance, today's self-parking Lexus LS 460L be tested and certified.
Either way, it's exciting to think that such vehicles are getting closer to being available to the public.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Nicolas, May 9th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Naive

    This post is uncharacteristically naive for this site. A technology doesn't spring to life because politicians authorize it. Even when politicians throw billions at technologies they fail. This is more ridiculous than "exciting."

     

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  2.  
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    Nicolas, May 9th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Naive

    This post is uncharacteristically naive for this site. A technology doesn't spring to life because politicians authorize it. Even when politicians throw billions at technologies they fail. This is more ridiculous than "exciting."

     

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  3.  
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    Steven (profile), May 9th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Naive

    Are you kidding? This is great! The politicians certainly aren't somehow creating the technology, but they are seeing where the technology is headed and setting up the legal framework to allow it going forward.

    This generally isn't needed in technological advancements, but since everything that goes on the public road system is subject to existing laws this is something that needs to be addressed.

    Go Nevada!

     

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  4.  
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    el_porko (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 12:37am

    An out for Google?

    So if Google uses autonomous vehicles for taking street view pictures legally no one is spying on anyone. Sweet!

    Who gets a ticket for an autonomous cars? Microsoft?

     

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  5.  
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    abc gum, May 10th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Naive

    "The politicians certainly aren't somehow creating the technology"

    Palms are being greased

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Re: An out for Google?

    Who gets in trouble when the Prius's gas peddle sticks and wrecks into someone (I don't actually know)? I would guess that if it's a manufacturers defect then the manufacturer should pay. Though I can imagine how hard it would be to file an insurance claim on an autonomous wreck.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Naive

    You guys have some of the weirdest conspiracy theories around

     

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  8.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    In a word: Scary.

    Although some dilettantes may scoff at my apprehension, I don't see how more electronics in cars is a good thing.

    My 58 year old mother's Ford Focus burst into flames while she was driving it just the other day due to the wonderfully modrun electronic control unit shorting out. I can't imagine what could happen if something similar occurred in a car with the accelerator, brake, and steering controlled by electronics.

     

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  9.  
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    Chris, May 10th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Wait, what?

    So.... We get to go use the HOV lane if we carpool, because we're saving the environment and blowing less crap into the atmosphere.

    But now they want more cars on the road WITH NOBODY IN THEM?

    Ahahahahahahahaha!

     

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  10.  
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    Rekrul, May 10th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Will you be able to send your car to the store to pick up groceries for you (loaded by a human, obviously) and then return, unattended? Will "sending a car" literally mean sending the car to pick someone up?

    Autonomous cars would be much easier to design if all roads, driveways and parking lots had some type of markers buried in them that the cars could detect. Like an invisible track.

     

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  11.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    They may want to focus on there housing market first. Making more homes when 10k are full of nefarious creatures and are ghosted.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Naive

    A technology doesn't spring to life because politicians authorize it.

    Nor did we say it did. Did you read a different post? Just pointing out that it's good to see Nevada take away hurdles.

    Even when politicians throw billions at technologies they fail.

    They're not throwing billions. They're taking away hurdles. That's good.

     

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  13.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    How awesome will it be to wake up with a hangover, make it out to your car, recline the seat sleep on your ride to work?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    If the taxi cab industry knew what's good for it they would lobby hard to ban autonomous vehicles. Who needs a taxi cab at the airport when they can simply instruct their car, over the phone, to come over and pick them up.

    People will simply call their cars to come pick them up sufficiently before the airplane lands so that by the time they get their luggage and are ready, the car will be waiting for them in the parking lot. As I'm getting my luggage and leaving the airport I'll use my phone to instruct my car to leave its parking spot at the airport and to come and to meet me outside. I won't have to walk to its parking spot and won't really care so much how far it needed to go to find a parking spot because I'll take that into consideration to determine about when I need to tell it to meet me outside. Autonomous cars will drive more safely than humans (ie: at one time people to beat chess computers but now we hardly can) so people who drink won't need a taxi cab anymore. and if I go visit a friend in another state and no one can pick me up during my arrival time, no one needs to have to, my friend can instruct his car to pick me up while at work and can give his car my cell phone number so that my car knows who to pick up and who to allow in the car. My friend can leave his/her house keys or whatever in the car and instruct the car to drop me off at my friends house and to go back to my friends work where my friend can then later take it home. The future will be so different with this sort of technology and if the taxi cab industry knows whats best for it it would start lobbying hard because the future will seek to make its government imposed monopolies of no benefit to them.

    Parked cars could become a scarcity because families won't need nearly as many cars, they can simply have the same car pick members up and drop them off at various places as desired. While one person is at work, their car doesn't have to be parked, it can be picking up that persons child from school and dropping them off home and then returning back to work. This will create all sorts of efficiencies.

    (I've already discussed, in a previous techdirt comment, how this sort of technology will likely revolutionize things like drug trafficking in the future).

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Re:

    "because I'll take that into consideration to determine about when I need to tell it to meet me outside"

    (that is, the application on my phone will tell me about how far my car parked and about how long it needs to get to me from its current parking spot, kinda like how Google already tells you about how long it will take you to get from point A to point B).

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    Re:

    (not to mention I've discussed how it will revolutionize things like terrorism as well. Who needs suicide bombers, we can have autonomous suicide cars instead. and small flying vehicles are also increasingly becoming more autonomous. This will also revolutionize crime, terrorism, spying, information leakages, information distribution, etc...).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re:

    (not to mention things like mail delivery. Companies don't need to use USPS or UPS anymore, they can have their own dedicated delivery cars that automatically deliver objects from location to location without having to for a dedicated driver to make deliveries. USPS and UPS will also be smart to lobby against these things).

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    without having to pay for a dedicated drive ... *

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    driver *

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    BTW, all of the ideas that I mentioned here (ie: the above one that I'm responding to, and any others) are non-patentable. I forgot to mention that but it's very important. I'm the 'inventor' of these ideas and no one can get a patent on them. I declare them in the public domain for anyone to use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    (and the above text constitutes prior art).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re:

    That is, I declare them in the public domain for anyone to freely use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    johnpmc (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 10:16pm

    Re: Re:

    Since it will likely be filled with the famous Google technology that tracks your every purchase and web click and likely other hard crypto verification software. Your suicide bomb slash drug dealing will bring the authorities right to your current location based on your latest cellphone activities. Not to mention information sent to the authorities will include a full personality profile based on your cellphone and web activities.

     

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  24.  
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    Steve from Buy And Sell Cars, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    I've been reading more lately about these auto-cars and wonder what systems they have in place if there is a computer glitch? Sure hope they aren't running Windows on those things!

     

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  25.  
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    Car Sale Dallas, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    Autonomous Cars

    What a great thread. I have been involved in the motor trade for over 20 years and find this subject fascinating.

    Is there anything that Google do not have a share in? As for autonomous cars - the idea of it actually fills me with dread - what happens if one of these cars knocks down a pedestrian - do we shift all the blame onto the manufacturer blaming faulty software and let the driver go scott free? Until alot more testing is done on these cars Im very skeptical that this will become mainstream

    I have my own blog and would very much like to open a new topic on this very subject. Keep up the great work guys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Car Sale Dallas, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    Autonomous Cars

    What a great thread. I have been involved in the motor trade for over 20 years and find this subject fascinating.

    Is there anything that Google do not have a share in? As for autonomous cars - the idea of it actually fills me with dread - what happens if one of these cars knocks down a pedestrian - do we shift all the blame onto the manufacturer blaming faulty software and let the driver go scott free? Until alot more testing is done on these cars Im very skeptical that this will become mainstream

    I have my own blog and would very much like to open a new topic on this very subject. Keep up the great work guys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Jerry from Custom Home Theater, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 9:16pm

    The concept is awesome in theory, you know, sleep or read while the car drives itself, and I know we are heading in that direction, but I always thought it would only happen on special roads meant only for auto vehicles and not on the freeways with normal cars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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