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Google Nabs US' First Driverless License

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Just when we thought a car-as-chauffeur was the stuff of dreams and Knight Rider reruns, it's Google (GOOG) to the rescue.

On Monday, Nevada issued Google a license to test its driverless technology -- a mix of GPS, cameras, lasers, and radar that helps the car suss out impediments -- on the state's roads. Google plans to use six Toyota Priuses, an Audi TT, and a Lexus RX450h, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Nevada passed a law last year allowing testing of driverless cars, making it the only state so far where Google can make practice runs on the open road. The law requires two people in the front seat at all times during testing, mimicking the safety precautions for "self-driving" commercial aircraft.

Having your car as your designated driver obviously frees up your hands for any number of important tasks such as eating with a knife and fork, buying alcohol from a neighboring state's drive-through liquor store, baby-making at 35 mph, changing diapers, and creating dynamic PowerPoint presentations on the fly.

Amenities the Google car will hopefully offer when it's ready for us around 2015: voice-activated texting and a whole panoply of Internet connectivity right on the dashboard, courtesy of the built-in "wardriving" technology that a Google "rogue engineer" developed. And, of course, the car absolutely must talk.

Not to be outdone by the tech giant, General Motors (GM) is also working on a driverless Cadillac Super Cruise that, for the moment, is more like enhanced cruise control than an actual completely driverless experience. The rudiments of Super Cruise will be available as part of the Driver Assist package by 2013, the company expects.

Check out Google's vehicle in action below:

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