In yet another sign that scientists and researchers have never watched a sci-fi movie in their lives, Google wants to install and test its self-driving cars in Nevada with the hope of one day criss-crossing the nation's urban roadways with them. While the move could eventually help keep drunk drivers off the streets of Las Vegas, Reno, and Pahrump, it also means the Silver State could be the first to fall to our onrushing robot overlords.
If you thought Paris Hilton and her ilk got stupid, falling-down hammered in Las Vegas before today's announcement, clear the decks if Google receives the permission it's seeking from local government. After a testing period, the self-guided vehicles would allow passengers to talk on the phone, text, tweet, and be carried to the inevitable Robo-Human Slave Conversion Camps in safety and--especially in Vegas--drunken comfort.
Google is already testing the robot cars in California successfully, with seven test cars traveling more than 1,000 miles without need for human intervention, despite a driver stationed behind the wheel and a technician to monitor the navigation system. At the time of the California tests were originally reported, the robo-cars had covered more than 140,000 miles with only one minor accident along the way.
Now Google wants Nevada to juggle its motoring laws and allow these new road tests. Google claims the self-driving machines will be more environmentally friendly and more certain to adhere to road laws. And that could indeed be the case--until the high-tech war wagons expose their restraining neck harnesses and hidden laser cannons.
Seriously, "Terminator: Judgement Day" gags aside, self-driving cars would have an especially positive influence in Las Vegas, where the bad driving stew of weekend alcoholics, tourists, aging retirees, and foreign travelers having their first U.S. driving experience amid a sea of flashing neon makes The Entertainment Capital of the World one of the worst driving cities in America.
Google has no current plans to market the system, but engineers have said robot cars wouldn't be susceptible to drowsiness or driving under the influence, and that eventually they might allow for more cars on the road, because they can drive closer to other vehicles, and less fuel consumption, because their safety would allow them to be made lighter, with less defensive armor.