Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Bark for right, two barks for left

Because I am last with your breaking technological news, you may be aware that Google released footage of their computer driven car. It essentially does what is in the name, it is a car driven by a computer. “So what” you say, “it’s just a dude in a bad suit driving a piece of shit Prius with a bad paint job. There is no way what-so-ever that this could be interesting. I would even rather watch Mythbusters than waste YouTube time on that.”

And I thought my car had a blind spot
The reason why this car is cool is that it was driven by a man not on Mythbusters, and who is leagally blind. 95% blind we find out in the video. I bet you’re regretting that bad suit comment now. Probably not the Prius one though. Its okay, he wasn't actually wearing a suit.

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?


  1. I would crawl into the back for a nap. I would love to get to sleep a little longer.

    Love the "turn it off and back on again" line.

    1. Sleep is something we seem to be doing less with more technology we get.

    2. Yea. He's lying. He would probably just check his phone and look at twitter and go "dammit Pish~! quit blowing up my phone!!"

      I would get drunk. I'm not going to lie.

    3. Good, because lying will get you no where.

      Unless you are on twitter, or doing ads for Prius on my blog, then they will take you far :p

    4. Perfect. Because with sentences that start like this: "It may look like a piece of shit and the drivers may be pricks. But.." how can Prius NOT pay me? I mean that copy will just sell itself, thank you and you're welcome.

  2. Eventually humans will get to a point where no one has to lift a finger for anything, ever anymore and the only professions will be IT related. We're doomed.

    1. I would hate to see the medical IT guy.

      Mind you they already turn hearts off and on again

      New industries are always popping up. 30 years ago, my job didn't exist.

  3. This is long overdue. The age of human inefficiency behind the wheel of a car can't come to an end soon enough.

  4. I agree with Brandon. Or Bryan. Or Beer. Whoever wrote that ^^. Too many dumbasses. I think our cars should essentially be like bumper cars, hooked up to a grid. Like little personal trains. They take us where we want to go and we leave the driving to professionals. If a computer malfunctions we can step in and drive. But think of the lives we can save with no more texting/drinking/stupid while driving accidents. Shit, you can get PLASTERED now at the bar and that means boom for the economy right there.

    And all those troopers forced to hide out on the highways? They can do other things, like fight crime. All the loss of revenue from no more tickets can be got by the fighting of the crime by penalizing REAL problems like leaving the house with no pants, and massive financial penalties for animal cruelty, as well as breaking up all the bar fights that will happen now that more assholes can go out drinking.

    You see? I have it all worked out. Also, I recently drove a prius for the first time. A prius with navigation. I have to say that it was the shit. It may look like a piece of shit and the drivers may be pricks. But damn if it wasn't awesome. You turned it off and on like a computer, snuck up on unsuspecting pedestrians and scared the shit out of them, and it drove like a dream. Way more vroom vroom than I thought and SO MUCH LESS MONEY AT THE GAS STATION. Also it was way bigger than I thought - tons and tons of leg room and trunk room.

    Paid for by Prius for America.


    1. Imagine getting into a cab where it doesn't smell like a man has been sitting in there everyday for the past five years.

      What a dream to not have to force conversation that begins with "busy night?" when you know, the driver has heard it at least once every 30min.

      I dream of taxis. And I'm seeing help for it.

    2. I actually think there's a fairly well known sexual issue attached to taxi dreams. Something about hookers.

      Or maybe that's just me.

  5. I'm totally hooking up if the car can drive itself! You all were thinking it.
    Of course, my wife isn't really into the car thing, so I'd need to find a willing partner...
    Of course, having written this "out loud" I will likely have driven my computer car for the last time...or should I say driven HER computer car for the last time...
    I may have driven for the last time period...

    Ugh, I'd read my email, legally?


    1. If Mrs Mynd reads this you will be driving alone for a while indeed ;)