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Will Google's Self-Driving Cars Soon Appear in Nevada?

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C'mon, seven! Mountain View needs a new car and the ability to safely pass out drunk behind the wheel!

Google has spend that past few years developing autonomous vehicles, allowing drivers to only take passive interest in the road. (More so.) In October, the company reported several successful tests in secret trial runs on real-traffic conditions. Results had been so successful that the tests now take place publicly and, according to Dr. Sebastian Thrun of Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, full deployment of robot cars could be underway in as little as eight years' time.

As crazy as it sounds to start seeing cars drive themselves within this decade, a recent move by Google could possibly shave a year or two off that prediction.

The New York Times reports that Google is quietly lobbying legislators to christen Nevada as the very first state to allow autonomous vehicles on public roads.

And given the state's already legal allowances, the company certainly chose well.

Google hired Las Vegas-based lobbyist David Goldwater to push two bills which could see a vote before the Legislature closes up shop in June. The first is an amendment to the electric-vehicle bill to allow licensing and testing of self-driving cars. The second bill -- seeing as how drivers are now permitted to let their minds wander -- would permit texting while driving.

Forget texting! I want to nap! Where's that bill?!

The sooner these autonomous cars hit the road the better, Google says. As Minyanville reported last year:

"The ramifications of streets filled with self-driving cars are countless. More vehicles can occupy the road given their instantaneous response time. Fuel consumption will decline by eliminating aggressive drivers and allowing lighter vehicles to prevail. Morning commutes could come with some extra shut-eye. Drunk driving arrests and injuries will sharply decline, as will texting-related mishaps. Cars can drop passengers off at the door of a bar, then spend the next hour looking for a spot on their own. Then they could be summoned via an iPhone app like Michael Knight's wristwatch. And should the need occur, autos can be delivered from one residence to another."

Let's hope Google's pull of the slot machine comes up all cherries.

(See also: Google Could Own the Road in Eight Years and Google Reveals the Future of Android)
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