Google has recently made a very odd announcement. They said they have developed cars that drive themselves automatically in traffic and that it has been testing them on the streets of California for months. It might seem like an unusual project for Google, but it could eventually have massive benefits.
The vehicles have been tested on 140,000 miles of California road, from Silicon Valley to Santa Monica. Each car is manned during the tests. One person sits in the driver’s seat, ready to take control of the vehicle instantly by grabbing the wheel or touch the brake should something go wrong with the system. The person in the passenger’s seat is an engineer who monitors the software operations on a computer.
If your first concern is one of safety, Google explains that this project is all about safety. Google believes that the technology could nearly halve the number of automobile-related deaths because computers are supposedly better at driving than humans in the right circumstances.
There are other hypothetical pluses, too. The vehicles’s instant reaction time and 360-degree awareness would allow them to drive closer together on the highway than humans can, reducing traffic congestion. They could be more careful when operating the gas, reducing fuel consumption.
But the biggest benefit for Google and for the user would be the hour or so of daily commute time the car owner would save. Instead of driving, he or she could either be productive or entertained in the vehicle, doing work on a wireless Internet connection or watching television.
These self driving cars are years away from being launched in the market, since there are a ton of legal issues that have to be considered before launching these in the market.
Do you think this technology will eventually be deployed, or is it just a dream for Google? Let us know in the comments below!