[tabi] Re: Google is testing cars that drive themselves

  • From: "Charles Atkins" <catkins@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2010 17:08:23 -0400

It's coming!  If Google said it, You can expect it!  
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 5:03 PM
  Subject: [tabi] Google is testing cars that drive themselves


   

  Google is testing cars that drive themselves

  Google announced Sunday that it has 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 actually have big benefits. 

  We're not just talking about cars running Google Android. This is the stuff 
of science fiction. The only accident that has occurred so far: One of the cars 
was rear-ended by a driver at a stop light. Human error!

  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.

  Google (Google) hired engineers who previously participated in competitions 
and races involving automated cars -- important turning points in the 
development of the technology, which has been coming into its own since around 
2005 according to The New York Times.

  If your first concern is one of safety, Google would argue that you're going 
about it all wrong. 

  Safety is one of the the project's purposes. Google believes that the 
technology could nearly half 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' 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 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 
(Internet) connection or watching television. 

  Google doesn't say it explicitly, but TechCrunch was quick to note that this 
time could be spent using Google products and absorbing Google-run advertising.

  The most optimistic projections put this technology at least eight years away 
from market, though. Legal hassles are among the myriad problems; all of the 
current traffic laws assume that a human driver is present in the vehicle.

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