|And I thought my car had a blind spot|
The man with the questionable licence is known as Steve Mahan to his parents. From his home he picked up his dry cleaning, went through the drive through of Taco Bell, and then headed home not touching the steering wheel, accelerator, or even the brake pedal once, and completely unaided. How awesome is that? I like to think that he got cut-off and used an app to give the knob the finger.
This is a triumph for engineers down at Google, and more independence on the horizon for people who need it. Things like this might have been done before at universities around the world, but they generally required the use of signal reference points along the road, or were alone on a test track. Google’s engineering team have had this baby on highways travelling at speed, navigating regular traffic, and I wouldn't be surprised if it has helped move house once or twice.
From here we can develop algorithms to dictate the best way for traffic to flow and we can remove human error from accidents. Depending on how "naughty" you have set your filter search options, you may end up at a different toy store than you were planning.
While this will ultimately make things easier for drivers, I do think we have created a few more problems. Namely do you call road side assistance, a tow truck, or IT tech support?
“Hello, yeah I can’t get my car to start. No, it was working before. Did the car crash or did the computer crash? I think it might be the computer, I was driving along and then it stopped. Have I tried turning it off and on again? Not yet...”
I find this exciting because I hate driving to work. I would rather kick back and eat some breakfast or catch up on the morning blogs. No all the things you do and love on the bus/train/tram/tandem bicycle you can do in your car. You want to air guitar to La Grange with ZZ Top on the way to work like my mate and fellow Adelaide comedian Michael? Why not push that driver’s seat back and play a real guitar? If you don’t play guitar you have 30mins a day to and from work to learn.
What would be the first thing you do when trying auto pilot for the first time?