Google good news: Nevada's yes to driverless cars
Those nice, but slightly odd, people at Google must feel rather put upon this week. Everyone seems to be after their blood (although the evidence as to whether they have any is still incomplete).
So, in the spirit of searching for some good news for the Googlies, I managed to find something that will uplift their robotic spirits.
The state of Nevada has, so Forbes tells me, passed a bill that requires its Department of Transportation to create rules and regulations for driverless cars.
You will be aware, unless you have been in an Estonian prison for the last couple of years, that driverless cars are something of a passion project for Google--and specifically for CEO Larry Page.
At this year's TED conference, some Googlies purloined a parking lot in order to demonstrate just what fun it is to finally release your control freak tendencies into the hands of fine Google software.
The Nevada law is very hands-on about its aims. It requires the state's Department of Transportation to "adopt regulations authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles on highways within the State of Nevada."
While many will simply be rejoicing that laws are being passed to make engineers' dreams come true, some might wonder why Nevada is being so progressive in this matter.
Naturally, I have a theory. It involves Vegas. One of the great frustrations in America's most characteristic city is the traffic on the Strip. If one is driving, it's just an awful nuisance. If one is a passenger in a cab, one has to politely chat to the driver about his ex-wife, his recent visit to the optometrist, the lack of professional sports in Nevada, or the location of the latest pot of flesh.
If one is in a driverless car, however, this leaves room for a slot machine, a direct link to the Race and Sports Book at your favorite hotel, and perhaps, even the company of your favorite local performer. (I am not specifically referring to Celine Dion.)
You just know that the masterful managers of Vegas must be behind this highly progressive and creative legal maneuver.