During my inaugural trip to Las Vegas, Nevada in June, a local newscaster was presenting a story about the passing of legislation regarding autonomous vehicle testing on public roads. She mentioned that it would make Nevada one of the first states to allow this testing without a person inside the vehicle.  While that is true, eighteen states have already passed bills to allow this type of testing on public roads.  Florida has been allowing true “driverless” vehicles since 2016.

The driverless electric shuttle carries passengers in a test program in downtown Las Vegas.  

The driverless electric shuttle carries passengers in a test program in downtown Las Vegas.
 

Texas is also one of those states.  The Texas legislation will become law on September 1, 2017 which means Texas could begin seeing driverless vehicles before the end of this year’s swimming season.  Prior to the bill being passed, there was no law banning autonomous vehicles on public roadways but manufacturers of AVs have been hesitant  to begin testing with no backup driver without clear guidelines in place. 

Texas is one of the states in front of the pack when it comes to AV testing.  In January of 2017, Texas was named one of 10 designated proving ground testing sites by the USDOT. Peterbilt has been testing semi-trucks out of its Denton, TX headquarters for years.  Although these examples are all from Texas, adoption of driverless vehicle testing and operation is becoming vastly widespread.

Nevada may have once been the leading state for driverless technologies but that is no longer the case,  proving that what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas.

Lauren Nelson
Senior Operations Manager
Winpark

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