Google applauds as Nevada approves rules for driverless cars

The State of Nevada has put a framework in place for testing and licensing self-driving cars, meaning Google is that much closer to being a highway star.

It's one small step for self-driving cars, one major leap for Google's self-driving car initiative, as Nevada approved regulations for driverless vehicles that have been vetted by car manufacturers, insurance companies, law enforcement officials and other entities with a stake, reports Physorg.

Way back in June 2011, Googling Google reported that Nevada opened the door for these regulations to be passed by way of a bill that essentially didn't make it illegal for autonomous cars to be on the road. But it's taken those eight months or so for Nevada to come up with rules for the vehicles that balanced safety, insurance and licensing concerns.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is developing licensing procedures for autonomous vehicles. Test cars will have red license plates, it seems, and once the technology is ready for the public at large, driverless cars will have green license plates.

Physorg doesn't say so in as many words, but it seems that the Nevada DMV understandably wants to give other drivers on the road as much notice as they can about the fact that these cars, well, have no driver.

It seems that regardless of the embarrassingly public five-car collision instigated by a Google driverless Prius (Google swears up and down that it was a human behind the wheel), the search giant's road safety record is impressive enough that this initiative is going forward.

"Self-driving cars have the potential to significantly increase driving safety," a Google spokesperson told ZDNet in an e-mail. "We applaud Nevada for building a thoughtful framework to enable safe, ongoing testing of the technology and to anticipate the needs and best interests of Nevada citizens who may own vehicles with self-driving capabilities one day."

It's getting ever-closer to the day when we can (maybe) ride to the airport from the Las Vegas strip in a driverless car. Who's excited?