We wouldn't blame drivers in Nevada to be worried about the safety of their roads because of the Autonomous Car Bill that Governor Brian Sandoval signed last June. However, they might be worried even more now, as the state has taken the next necessary step and created the initial regulation to allow self-driving cars on public roads.
In compliance with Assembly Bill 511, Section 8, which “requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles on highways within the State of Nevada,” the DMV's Legislation Commission has announced the first set of regulations. Rules are simple: autonomous test vehicles will sport a red license plate, and if the technology is ever approved for public use, self-driving cars will then wear a green license plate so that they can easily be differentiated among vehicles with actual people driving them.
The license plates are just the first step in allowing autonomous vehicles on Nevada roads. "Our work doesn't stop here," said Department of Motor Vehicles director Bruce Breslow. "The department is currently developing licensing procedures for companies that want to test their self-driving vehicles [here]. Nevada is proud to be the first state to embrace this emergent technology and [we look] forward to sustaining partnerships as the technology evolves."
A number of manufacturers including Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW have all shown prototypes of self-driving cars. But Google's autonomous Toyota Prius has perhaps been at the center of it all, especially since one was caught on tape getting into a minor accident. Now, it looks like Nevada might just become the hotbed for testing of driver-free cars in the coming years.