Automotive supplier Continental is one of the driving forces behind the development of systems necessary for autonomous vehicles, and it’s become the first industry supplier granted a license to test autonomous vehicles on Nevada’s roads. Google was the first company granted a license in Nevada, receiving approval in May of 2012.
Continental’s test vehicle will be fitted with a special red license plate, indicating that the vehicle is autonomous in nature. Earning the plate required Continental to demonstrate the vehicle’s abilities to the Nevada DMV, as well as providing the agency with safety plans, training documentation, system functions and a strategy for accident reporting.
In addition to its distinctive color, the plate will wear the infinity symbol, designating the vehicle as an automobile of the future. Only licensed autonomous test vehicles will wear the plate, designed for easy recognition by other motorists and law enforcement alike.
Of the licensing, Continental’s North American head of advanced driver assistance systems, Christian Schumacher, said, “Earning this license represents an important intermediate step towards automated driving for Continental.”
“Continuing our research and testing in the most challenging environment – public roads -- under the highest safety standards, will allow us to continue to assess and develop our highly automated vehicle,” continued Schumacher.
It’s important to point out that “autonomous” doesn’t necessarily mean “driverless,” and Continental's test vehicle will have an onboard driver monitoring all systems throughout the test process. Using primarily components already in production, Continental hopes to prove that semi-autonomous cars can be a near-term reality.
Its ultimate goal, however, is far more ambitious; under its Vision Zero concept, Continental hopes to completely eliminate traffic accidents and traffic fatalities.
Continental gets Nevada approval to test autonomous cars