Nevada robocar regulations get approved, robocars welcomed in junker car race


The state of Nevada today approved regulations for self-driving cars in the state. Last year, Nevada passed a law outlining the path to these regulations, and their DMV has been working in consultation with Google, car makers and other parties to write them down. Today they were approved, allowing testing, certification and -- someday -- operation of vehicles in the state. Other laws are in consideration in other states inspired by the Nevada move. This is, frankly, much sooner than I anticipated.

In other news, a junker car race known as "24 hours of LeMons" (completely unrelated to Le Mans) has announced that self-driving cars may enter and are exempt from the normal requirement that cars cost no more than $500. The "X cedingly bad idea prize" of a million nickels (not quite as good as X prize purses of $10 million) probably won't get too many takers at first. This race has a sense of humour but I'm not sure too many folks would risk their expensive autonomous car on that track or feel it safe enough to drive with crazy amateur racing drivers. I suspect they don't really mean it and just wanted to issue a press release, but it will be fun when robocar technology is common enough that garage tinkerers on low budgets can enter races like this.



The Robocar in the race made me wonder how a Robocar would compete in a demolition derby.

Since it would be able to see better than a human and react faster and more intelligently, I'm thinking that it could win.

...unless, of course, all the other drivers colluded to smash the Robocar. :-(

Just wonderin,

There is a virtual demolition derby contest held most years in the AI community. It's based on TORCS, and you write a program to control a car on that track, get ground truth info about the other cars, and smash 'em. Not very realistic rules of course.

I am told that in NASCAR, every so often a newcomer decides to act fearless, never yield, win every game of chicken. The rest then gang up and teach the person they are not invulnerable, and they learn to cooperate. Don't know if the same would happen in derby.

One problem is that today robocar sensors are expensive. You would need to be sure you could do a derby where the sensors could be recovered, and the work of installing the self-drive hardware was not that wasted. It's non-trivial on today's cars. It's much easier on hybrids but they are expensive for derby.

Hi Brad

Wow your Stirling engine post really kicked off a discussion...!

Anyway I just wanted to call your attention to three recent battery developments which will greatly affect the battery switching idea. In my opinion the recent developments in battery tech means that Better Place will be pretty much dead in the water.

- Quebec Hydro's battery would survive 20,000 re-charges meaning it would out-survive the cars it travels in. This is a positive for Better Place, of course


- Envia has developed a battery with more than double the current energy density commonly found with 400 watt hours per kg

- Polyplus claims to beat this with 1300 watt hours per kg (if this is true this will change the world...)

Affordable range of 400mi would be.. awesome.

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