Google purchased 1,210 acres of land in Nevada valued at $29.1 million last week, which could be used to house a massive data center and serve as a potential testing site for self-driving cars according to a new report. Documents for the industrial park property filed Friday reveal that the site is just east of Reno and located a few miles south of Tesla's massive gigafactory complex. Even though Google has not revealed any plans to build a data center on its recent property acquisition, it's suggested that a data center may only be part of Google's future in Nevada.
Another possible use for Google parent Alphabet to use the land for is to house a testing facility for its Waymo unit. Waymo is responsible for Alphabet's and Google's autonomous driving efforts. The move to Nevada will help Google accelerate its work on self-driving cars, since Nevada has fewer regulations than neighboring California. There's still a lot of speculation on how Google will use its land. 1,200 acres seems way too big for a data center, and plans for an autonomous vehicle test site on Nevada's relaxed regulatory climate seem to fit. While California imposes a 35 MPH limit 0n self-driving cars, for example, Nevada doesn't have such a speed restriction. This could potentially allow Google to test autonomous vehicles at higher speeds in Nevada. Google and Nevada already have a good relationship together when it comes to autonomous vehicles. In 2012, Nevada made history as the first state to approve a license for autonomous vehicles, and Google became the first company to receive that license.
Waymo reported that since Google began its autonomous driving initiative, the company has logged more than 2 million miles in test drives, which is the equivalent of over 300 years of human driving experience. Many of those miles, according to Google, were driven on large city streets. On Waymo's website, Google counts Kirkland, WA, Mountain View, CA, Phoenix, AZ and Austin, TX as cities where it currently tests its self-driving cars. Given the Nevada property's close proximity to automaker Tesla's gigafactory, it's unclear if a partnership between Google and Tesla in the automotive space is also in the works.