Google Lobbying Nevada Politicians To Push For Self-Driving Cars

Posted May 11, 2011

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is lobbying politicians in Nevada to make self-driving cars legal on public roads. To make this possible, the legislators would need to make an exemption to allow occupants for sending text messages while driving.

Google has test-driven the self-driving vehicles on over 140,000 miles on California roads, including Highway 1 between L.A. and San Francisco. It is unknown what Google’s commercial intentions are after doing final tests on the self-driving cars.

Google hired lobbyist David Goldwater to promote two measures that would permit the self-driving cars to travel around Nevada. The first permit is an electric-vehicle bill that would provide the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles. The other is an exemption that would allow texting while driving.

During the testing program, each vehicle is overseen by a driver and another Google employee that monitors the equipment from the passenger seat. Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun is leading the Google self-driving vehicle project.