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In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat

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On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat

Nevada is set to become the testing bed for self-driven vehicles. Last summer, the state's legislature officially legalized certain self-driven vehicles after some heavy lobbying by Google. The legislation called upon Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles to develop rules and regulations governing the real-world use of such vehicles. Among the first rules is one that requires self-driven vehicles to be tagged with red license plates, a designation that will easily convey their autonomous status to other drivers.

If you look at the state of Nevada, it's the perfect test bed for unproven vehicle technology. You've got Vegas; you've got Tahoe; you've got some smaller gambling towns lined up around the state's borders; and you've got a whole lot of empty desert, mountains and open space in between. It's not one of the top 5 least-populated states, but considering its large size and population concentration around the borders, it has plenty of open space and uncrowded roads. Those uncrowded roadways connecting spotty towns are located next door to California, where tech companies like Google are headquarted.

While Nevada's legislature gave a big vote of confidence to self-driven vehicles last year, it's proceeding with caution. Red is a signal for danger both in society (stop signs) and in nature itself (poison ivy, black widow spiders). According to the Associated Press, Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles has designated red as the color for self-driven vehicles' license plate.

Using red will provide a clear visual cue that basically says: experimental vehicle being driven by a ghost in the machine, proceed with care. Don't let the red scare you too much, though: Driverless cars still require a human on board that can take control of the car if anything goes wrong. So while they'll do most of their driving via electronic systems, they won't be void of human control.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is still working out other procedures. Other stipulations of the legislation require the DMV to establish regulations about insurance requirements, geographic areas for testing and other important safety aspects.



Sami18 | 11:50AM (Tue, Feb 28, 2012)

I really hope that they dont bring this to vehicles in the US its almost a disaster waiting to happen.

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