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Nevada Gives Green Light To Google's Driverless Cars

Publication Date: 
May 09, 2012
Marketplace Tech
John Moe

Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society Bryant Walker Smith spoke about the long-term benefits that driverless cars may bring in reducing traffic on roads.

The roads of Nevada are going to be filling up with more cars -- but not as many drivers. After extensive testing, Nevada has approved Google's application to test driverless cars on public streets.

There are some rules. Two humans need to be on board, one in the driver's seat, just in case. But the car may drive itself better than some human, some meatbag, could because it won't get distracted.


Bryant Walker Smith is with the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. He says it could help traffic. Eventually.

Bryant Walker Smith: By automating driving, cars may someday be able to be lighter, smaller, use less space, travel closer together, generally use the existing roadway infrastructure more efficiently. Now that's very long-term. In the short term, we may actually see something very different, which is self-driving cars behaving more cautiously, keeping more space, taking longer at stop signs.

And even further down the, uh, road, we could see a fundamental change in how we live.

Smith: For example, if I can sleep in my car, or I can do work and hold more meetings, I may be willing to take more trips. In the long term, I may be willing to send my car without anyone in it, and that may change land development patterns.