One never knows what kind of strange ideas Google engineers are going to come up with. After all, the company is famous for giving its people free time to work on their own projects. But self-driving cars?
Google’s experiments with cars driving themselves originally struck me as a gimmick but from time to time I have posted about it. Now this notion that cars can drive themselves is beginning to look like something serious. Here are two posts making that point:
- Google’s Revolutionary Self-Driving Car
Google’s whole robocar idea has been overlooked in general. This is probably one of the greatest inventions of the last 100 years and people are fairly ho-hum about it. In fact, it addresses numerous transportation issues and is simply revolutionary. Google is poised to make more money with this device someday than it ever has with search.—John Dvorak at PCMag
- The Annoying Thing About Self-Driving Cars: They Obey the Speed Limit
Self-driving cars are on a roll. They were legalized in Nevada in February, and California’s state senate approved them in May. Google has been testing them on public roads for years, and Ford now predicts an autonomous-driving mode will be available in its cars by 2017.—Will Oremus at Slate
Google isn’t alone in this area. Others are working on new kinds of automobile technology that interacts with humans:
- MIT creates intelligent car co-pilot that only interferes if you’re about to crash
Mechanical engineers and roboticists working at MIT have developed an intelligent automobile co-pilot that sits in the background and only interferes if you’re about to have an accident. If you fall asleep, for example, the co-pilot activates and keeps you on the road until you wake up again.—ExtremeTech
- Ford is now a ‘personal mobility’ company: How the comeback kids are riding tech to a new destiny
As Bill Ford sees it, Ford Motor Company is about democratizing technology, and it’s preparing to tackle a new challenge over the next 50 years—Jason Hiner at CNET
- How smarter cars and digital cities are about to change the way we drive
It starts with a car dashboard that knows about upcoming traffic jams in advance and automatically re-plots a route to avoid it, perhaps taking into account congestion zone charges.And it reaches its zenith when cars automatically change speed to avoid each other, with the idea of ‘platooning’ when the lead car at traffic lights literally sets the exact pace of all cars behind – all networked and communicating in real-time – in an effort to get more cars through junctions as quickly as possible—TechRadar
- Cadillac CUE: driving is safer (and more dangerous) than ever
At The Verge, Chris Ziegler writes about a week spent with a Cadillac containing CUE, a stack of hardware and software that manages virtually every aspect of a driver’s interaction with the machine.
- Get ready to download apps to your Chrysler Ram or Viper
Chrysler unveils a set of mobile features coming to a pickup truck and a sports car as the result of a partnership with Sprint Nextel—CNET
But increased use of computers also carries risks. The next post describes some hacking that has already gone on.
How about you? Would you feel safe in a driverless car?