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Self-Driving Car is any in a range of autonomous cars, developed by Google X as part of its project to develop technology for mainly electric cars. The software installed in Google’s cars is named Google Chauffeur. Lettering on the side of each car identifies it as a “self-driving car”. The project was formerly led by Sebastian Thrun, former 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.

Legislation has been passed in four U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allowing driverless cars. The state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011, permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada, after Google had been lobbying in that state for robotic car laws. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for an autonomous car in May 2012, to a Toyota Prius modified with Google’s experimental driverless technology. In April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads, and California became the third when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google Headquarters in Mountain View. In December 2013, Michigan became the fourth state to allow testing of driverless cars on public roads. In July 2014, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho adopted a robotics ordinance that includes provisions to allow for self-driving cars.

In May 2014, Google presented a new concept for their driverless car that had neither a steering wheel nor pedals, and unveiled a fully functioning prototype in December of that year that they planned to test on San Francisco Bay Area roads beginning in 2015. Google plans to make these cars available to the public in 2020