Friday, October 15, 2010

"Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic"

Similar stories to this one from the New York Times appeared elsewhere. The last I had heard, self-driving cars would require a retrofit of roads. (I don't remember when or where I read that; it might have been 30 years ago in one of my father's issues of Popular Mechanics.) Google's approach seems more feasible, though how feasible that makes it in absolute terms I couldn't say.

The obvious concerns about this technology include safety and reliability, as well as hacking (imagine kidnapping, or killing, someone by taking over her or his car; in fact, it might be an effective way to frame someone).

Perhaps less obvious: Will self-driven cars get better gas mileage? Will Americans put up with them, even if they prove safer than human-driving cars? Will they be the end of the designated driver?

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

1 comment:

Ken Pimple said...

The New York Times recently published an article, "Collision in the Making Between Self-Driving Cars and How the World Works," by John Markoff (January 23, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/technology/googles-autonomous-vehicles-draw-skepticism-at-legal-symposium.html).

It seems there are legal issues, including liability and whether police officers would have the right and ability to make self-driving cars pull over, need to be resolved before smart cars take over the roads.

Ken