After a long night of drinking, you walk to your car, turn on the ignition, and drive home.
Only you aren’t doing the driving, your car is. That’s Google’s vision of the future and if their testing is any indication, that future is closer than you may think.
According to the report, Google has seven test cars that have driven a total of 140,000 miles in traffic with only minimal human interaction. During the public showcase, the car started at Google’s campus, merged onto Highway 101, then exited the highway, stopping at lights and stop signs while announcing its intentions to the people in the vehicle.
If this technology can be mass produced, fuel consumption will be drastically reduced, roads will be better utilized, and traffic accidents could be all but eliminated. All of this assumes that the software works as advertised, but considering we already have cars that can park themselves, why should this be much different?
Before these cars can be mass produced, nearly every driving law on the books will have to be examined and modified as they all assume a responsible person is behind the wheel. If there’s an accident in a robotic car, who is at fault? Given the fact that you can sue a company over bad walking directions, you can be sure that both the software and auto companies would be on the receiving end of many lawsuits.
The question is which do you trust more, a computerized car with potential software errors, or a person who may be intoxicated, tired, or simply not paying attention?