Google’s driverless cars will be driving around Nevada

googles driverless cars will be driving around nevada googlecarDrivers of the Silver State, beware: Very soon, you’re going to be sharing your roads with cars that lack a driver – and you won’t even know which ones they are. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles voted today to approve Google’s application to test their “self-driving” vehicles throughout the state, becoming the first state to allow the self-styled “car of the future” out into the public for the first time.

The application was approved by the DMV’s Autonomous Review Committee after careful review of the company’s safety plans, system functions, accident reporting mechanisms and employee training. Three of the specially-adapted Toyota Priuses have been granted permission to be tested on Nevada public roads, with each one identifiable not only be the hardware adaptations it has undergone, nor the “Google Self-Driving Car” decals it will sport, but also the specially-created license plate each car will be given, featuring an infinity symbol against a red background. According to Department Director Bruce Breslow, “I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the ‘car of the future.’ The unique red plate will be easily recognized by the public and law enforcement and will be used only for licensed autonomous test vehicles.”

Google has been testing the autonomous vehicles for some time, with eight cars having clocked up an impressive 160,000 miles in private Californian roads so far. The cars use a combination of Google Street View and information gathered by onboard sensors (including cameras and lasers amongst other technology) to navigate, accompanied by a passenger who can, if necessarily, override the AI and take control of the car immediately. Sounds weird? Not according to David Goldwater, who lobbied for Google in Nevada and has been a passenger on earlier tests, and said that it’s “like riding in any car,” adding “I have not been afraid at all riding in it. It is no different than when you get to an airport and fly in a plane that is automatically controlled 90 percent of the time.”

(Of course, there are now planes that are automatically controlled 100% of the time, which may seem only slightly more unnerving than sharing the road with a robot who doesn’t understand the concept of “merging.”)

To ensure maximum safety during the Nevada tests, the Google cars will seat two passengers prepared for any eventuality, meaning that they might seem almost indistinguishable for any other car on the road, if you can get over the cameras, branding and special license plates. Well, until Google Maps suggests that they take a side street that doesn’t actually exist, of course.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Cars

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.
Cars

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.
Cars

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.
Cars

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.
Cars

Volkswagen’s next-generation lights will keep you safer, look good doing it

Volkswagen's new smart LED headlights, called IQ.Light, don't just light up the road in front of you to keep you, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. They also look dang good while doing it.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second electric car will fill a new niche

Porsche surprised us at the Geneva Auto Show with an electric station wagon named Mission E Cross Turismo. Though it's a concept car, it could become a production model after the Mission E sedan arrives in showrooms.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford briefly flashed an enigmatic new model in a minute-long commercial starring Bryan Cranston. Its front end borrows styling cues from the 2019 Mustang, but it doesn't have a grille and its emblem is back-lit.
Cars

Tesla drops Full Self-Driving option from online configurator to spare ‘confusion’

Tesla no longer offers a Full Self-Driving (FSD) option for Models S, X, and 3 in the company's online configuration tool. CEO Elon Musk said the FSD option caused confusion. Its software validation and regulatory approval could take years.