Google driverless car
The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for driverless cars. The project is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View. Thrun's team at Stanford created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and its US$2 million prize from the United States Department of Defense. The team developing the system consisted of 15 engineers working for Google, including Chris Urmson, Mike Montemerlo, and Anthony Levandowski who had worked on the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges.
The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011 permitting the operation of driverless cars in Nevada. Google had been lobbying for driverless car laws. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for a self-driven car in May 2012. The license was issued to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology. As of April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow the testing of driverless cars on public roads. California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View.
Road testing 
The project team has equipped a test fleet of at least ten vehicles, consisting of six Toyota Prius, an Audi TT, and three Lexus RX450h, each accompanied in the driver's seat by one of a dozen drivers with unblemished driving records and in the passenger seat by one of Google's engineers. The car has traversed San Francisco's Lombard Street, famed for its steep hairpin turns and through city traffic. The vehicles have driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and on the Pacific Coast Highway, and have circled Lake Tahoe. The system drives at the speed limit it has stored on its maps and maintains its distance from other vehicles using its system of sensors. The system provides an override that allows a human driver to take control of the car by stepping on the brake or turning the wheel, similar to cruise control systems already found in many cars today.
On March 28, 2012, Google posted a YouTube video showing a Morgan Hill, California resident, Steve Mahan being taken on a ride in its self-driving Toyota Prius. In the video, Mahan states "Ninety-five percent of my vision is gone, I'm well past legally blind". In the description of the YouTube video, it is noted that the carefully programmed route takes him from his home to a drive-through restaurant, then to the dry cleaning shop, and finally back home.
In August 2012, the team announced that they have completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles (500 000 km) accident-free, typically have about a dozen cars on the road at any given time, and are starting to test them with single drivers instead of in pairs. Four U.S. states have passed laws permitting driverless cars as of September 2012: Nevada, Florida, Texas and California.
In August 2011, a human-controlled Google driverless car was involved in the project's first crash near Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Google has stated that the car was being driven manually at the time of the accident. A previous incident involved a Google driverless car being rear-ended while stopped at a stoplight.
While Google had no immediate plans to commercially develop the system, the company hopes to develop a business which would market the system and the data behind it to automobile manufacturers. An attorney for the California Department of Motor Vehicles raised concerns that "The technology is ahead of the law in many areas," citing state laws that "all presume to have a human being operating the vehicle". According to The New York Times, policy makers and regulators have argued that new laws will be required if driverless vehicles are to become a reality because "the technology is now advancing so quickly that it is in danger of outstripping existing law, some of which dates back to the era of horse-drawn carriages".
Google lobbied for two bills that made Nevada the first state where driverless vehicles can be legally operated on public roads. The first bill is an amendment to an electric vehicle bill that provides for the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles. The second bill will provide an exemption from the ban on distracted driving to permit occupants to send text messages while sitting behind the wheel. The two bills came to a vote before the Nevada state legislature’s session ended in June 2011. It has been speculated that Nevada was selected due to the Las Vegas Auto Show and the Consumer Electronics Show, and the high likelihood that Google will present the first commercially viable product at either or both of these events. Google executives, however, refused to state the precise reason they chose Nevada to be the maiden state for the driverless car.
Nevada passed a law in June 2011 concerning the operation of driverless cars in Nevada, which went into effect on March 1, 2012. A Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology was licensed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in May 2012. This was the first license issue in the United States for a self-driven car. License plates issued in Nevada for autonomous cars will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol (∞) on the left side because, according to the DMV Director, "...using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the 'car of the future'."  Nevada's regulations require a person behind the wheel and one in the passenger’s seat during tests.
See also 
- General Motors EN-V
- VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge
- Google's RechargeIT
- MIT Media Lab CityCar
- "The Test Driven Google Car". 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- John Markoff (2010-10-09). "Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Sebastian Thrun (2010-10-09). "What we're driving at". The Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Nevada enacts law authorizing autonomous (driverless) vehicles". Green Car Congress. 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Alex Knapp (2011-06-22). "Nevada Passes Law Authorizing Driverless Cars". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- John Markoff (2011-05-10). "Google Lobbies Nevada To Allow Self-Driving Cars". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- Mary Slosson (2012-05-08). "Google gets first self-driven car license in Nevada". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Ana Valdes (5-07-2012). Florida Embraces Self-Driving Cars Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- John Oram (9-27-2012). Governor Brown Signs California Driverless Car Law at Google HQ Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Damon Lavrinc (2012-04-16). "Exclusive: Google Expands Its Autonomous Fleet With Hybrid Lexus RX450h". Wired. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- Cy Ryan (2012-05-07). "Nevada issues Google first license for self-driving car". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- Angela Moscaritolo (March 29, 2012). "Google's Self-Driving Car Takes Blind Man for a Ride". PC Magazine. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Self-Driving Car Test: Steve Mahan. YouTube. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Self-driving Car Logs More Miles, googleblog
- Muller, Joann. "With Driverless Cars, Once Again It Is California Leading The Way", Forbes.com, September 26, 2012
- Whittington, Mark. "Law Proposed in Texas to Require Licensed Driver in Self-Driving Vehicles", Yahoo! News, Fri, Mar 8, 2013
- "Human Driver Crashes Google's Self Driving Car". businessinsider.com. Aug. 5, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- JOHN MARKOFF (Oct 9, 2010). "Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2012].
- Alisa Priddle. "Google discloses costs of its driverless car tests".
- "How Google's Self-Driving Car Works - IEEE Spectrum". Spectrum.ieee.org. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Sebastian Thrun: Google's driverless car TED Video (March 2011)
- Sebastian Thrun talks about driverless cars on Executive Talks (May 2007)
- Silicon Valley vs. Detroit: The Battle For The Car Of The Future May 27, 2013 issue of Forbes magazine