Google got approval to run its driverless cars within Nevada last year, but now the state has allowed Audi to run its driverless cars on the streets as well. This marks the first time an established carmaker has been given the authority to test its driverless cars on public roads.

Audi has long come across as a distant #2 compared with the driverless Google Cars. While Google made its name for putting driverless cars on parking lots, city streets and open highways, Audi seemed to keep its driverless TTS research car to controlled environments. While we should never scoff at Audi running up Pikes Peak without a human at the wheel, it's been Google leading the way since 2009.

With this Nevada ruling, reported by Forbes, Audi could make its way to the top of the driverless car field.


Both Audi and Google's driverless cars have roots at Stanford, whose robot-car was the first to win the groundbreaking DARPA Challenge back in 2005. Audi gets its driverless tech both from work at the Volkswagen Auto Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley, as well as from a continuing relationship with Stanford.

With Audi planning on showing off some unspecified new driverless technology at CES this week, we'll soon find out if the company will make itself the leader in automated cars, or if it will stay second to Google.


Photo Credit: Audi