Look, No Driver!

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson

They are a bit wacky out Nevada way, aren’t they?

I think too much sun and gambling might have gone to their heads. Well, how else can you explain away the fact that they are going to let driverless cars onto their roads?

The project to get these futuristic cars out and about and causing mayhem comes from Google. It seems that lasers, radar sensors and video cameras all add up to make it possible for them to get around without a human being in sight.

Actually, that last bit isn’t quite true. No homo sapien needs to drive the vehicle but two people need to sit in the car whenever it is driving itself. It then follows routes which have been marked out by Google staff.

A Lot of Testing

The test car has done over 140,000 miles without any accidents, apart from when someone ran into the back of it at traffic lights. It isn’t clear whether the vehicle has the option of shouting abuse at the other driver in a robotic voice when this happens, although I like to think that it does.

During the testing period the driverless car got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and cruise along the Pacific Coast highway. It was designed by a chap called Sebastian Thrun, who is vice president at Google as well as a Stanford University professor.

Do I want a car that drives itself? The idea certainly appeals me to, as I could take some photos when I drive to the beach or finish reading my book on the trip to work.
However, after the novelty value wears off might it just be like getting driven around by your Dad? It is sure to get to your destination safely and probably won’t like you turning up the radio too loud or sticking your head out of the window.

For me, a lot of the fun of being in a car is driving, and I get bored when someone else drives. So no, I don’t think I’ll be getting driven around Las Vegas anytime soon.

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