Nevada DMV Issues First Autonomous Vehicle License To Google

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has approved Google’s license application to test autonomous vehicles on Nevada public roads.

It is the first license issued in the United States under new laws and regulations that put Nevada at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.

After drive testing demonstrations along freeways, state highways and neighborhoods both in Carson City and the busy Las Vegas Strip, the department’s Autonomous Review Committee met to review Google’s safety plans, employee training, system functions and accident reporting mechanisms.

The committee approved the application and is now creating the state’s first autonomous testing business license and license plates for the international company.  The license plates displayed on the test vehicle will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol on the left side.

“I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the ‘car of the future,’ ” said department Director Bruce Breslow. “The unique red plate will be easily recognized by the public and law enforcement and will be used only for licensed autonomous test vehicles. When there comes a time that vehicle manufactures market autonomous vehicles to the public, that infinity symbol will appear on a green license plate.”

Google's self-driving car navigates the Strip. / Photo courtesy of Nevada DMV.

Google was the first company to file an application with the department to test their autonomous system. Other auto manufacturers have indicated their desire to test and develop autonomous technology in Nevada in the future.

Brian Sandoval became the first governor in the nation to be “taken for a ride” in Google’s self-driving car during a demonstration in July 2011.

Sandoval went for a ride in the modified Toyota Prius from the capital city halfway through the Washoe Valley before returning to the Department of Motor Vehicles office where the car and a duplicate were on display.

“It’s incredibly impressive,” Sandoval said at the time. “It accounts for all the safety issues. You have the ability to know who is front of you. You have a 360-degree consideration of everything around you. It even tells you when a crosswalk is coming up.”