Nevada just took a big step toward the future: It’s the first state to approve regulations that pave the way for companies to test driverless cars on state roads.
Down the road, this could lead to driverless taxicabs or cars that transport people who can’t drive due to a medical condition.
Although the cars aren’t ready to go to market yet, this is a chance for companies like Toyota to do real-world testing on their driverless concept cars. Already, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval took a test ride in a self-driving Toyota Prius in July. The car, which is being developed by Google, uses radar, sensors and computers to drive itself. Don’t worry, though: the human driver can override the autopilot function at any time.
The regulations generally follow traffic laws, with one obvious exception: A law passed by legislators last year to ban texting while driving included a specific exemption for operators of self-driving cars on autopilot.
What about drinking and driving, you ask? Sorry, it still applies, even to drunk "drivers" of self-driving cars.