Based on your morning commute, it’s pretty clear that the majority of drivers are morons (everyone besides you, of course). Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of that nuisance? What if you were the only driver on the road? And what if, maybe, you didn’t even have to be driving?
According to the wizards at Google, autonomous vehicles—cars that require no effort from the driver—are the future. Not only are they possible, they are, in fact, coming to a freeway near you in the next few years.
While Google is massively successful, no doubt, their prognostic powers are questionable. Why didn’t they beat Apple to the iPad?
Perhaps Google will now lead the world into the future now thathas passed away and Apple’s releases in recent years have been decidedly derivative. I mean, Cupertino’s latest “exciting” breakthrough product is the fifth version of the iPhone, a product released back in 2007.
A computer-controlled car would be a fair amount more exiting than a phone that can both take calls and check email (and photograph things and text and even kill green swine with enraged birds).
Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founders, said today that everyone could own one of his company’s self-driving cars within five years. Of course, how much one of these vehicles would probably cost was never mentioned.
These cars exist. Google has created several prototypes and they have already driven 50,000 miles without a human being behind the wheel.
The statements were made today while California Governorsigned a new law that would allow driver-less vehicles to operate on the state’s freeways by 2015. The manufacturers would have to provide certification that the cars were safe, though.
The bill is called SB-1298 Vehicles: autonomous vehicles: safety and performance requirements and was written by state senator Alex Padilla. It went through California’s state legislature and met Brown’s signature with little fuss or opposition.
Brown and Padilla were excited that the theoretical self-driven car industry could bring many jobs to the state. Google’s project is definitely in the realm of advanced manufacturing that could revive industry in the United States, a country where factories have been migrating abroad to areas with cheaper unskilled labor.
According to Brin, “You can't make new technologies if you rely on the operating instructions from the past. Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality."
Does this mean Mountain View is the next Detroit?