Google could soon be coming to a street near you. The tech giant known for its influence over the Web has just been given a license to drive.
Nevada recently agreed to a limited test program allowing Google to put its new "driverless" cars on the road.
State regulations require a human back-up driver and passenger to be present during the test drives.
"It uses cameras inside to spot traffic lights and other things. It also uses this thing at the top which is a scanning laser," Google software engineer Sebastian Thrun explained.
The technology in the cars is similar to what is already used in passenger jets. The car is navigated by artificial intelligence and assisted by a global positioning system and motion sensors.
A human driver can take control at any time by grabbing the wheel or stepping on the brake. But otherwise the car is on auto pilot, and the driver can just sit back and relax.
"If you wish to drive it, that's fine. If you wish to waste 52 minutes in commute traffic, go ahead, be my guest," Thrun quipped.
Florida may soon become the second state to allow Google self-driving cars onto the road.
Google has a test fleet of at least eight vehicles - six Toyota Priuses, an Audi TT and a Lexus RX450h.