Get ready to be creeped out.
Google has been testing cars that automatically drive themselves in traffic. Yes, testing. On California streets. That means these vehicles exist! What century is this?
And the only accident reported to have occurred so far? A non-Google vehicle running into the Google self-driving car at a stop light. Now, each of these Google vehicles is manned during the testing. One driver sits in the driver’s site, ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. The passenger is typically an engineer who monitors the software operations during the drive.
For those of us who like the idea of sleeping in our cars on the way to work, but don’t think its worth the loss in safety, Google would say we’re looking at it the wrong way. That in the vast, vast majority of all traffic accidents, it is human error causing it. Google’s top priority with these automated cars is in drastically reducing the number of automobile-related deaths, not just in allowing you to eat breakfast and complete your crossword puzzle en route.
Instant reaction time. 360-degree awareness. Automatic gas mileage optimization. And freeing the driver from the inactivity of a long commute each day. I’m on board. I think it’s cool. But, how long will it take for a state to actually legalize these vehicles, if ever?
And after learning that Google was utilizing its free 1-800-GOOG-411 service to test speech recognition, it makes me wonder if a big motivation behind Google Street View was providing Google with detailed mapping for its new smart vehicles routing systems to be based off?