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

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2010 17:55:14 -0400

you could already see this happening in the new features of the high-end
cars; Mercedes for instance has radar built-in to the front which not
only follows the car ahead once you put it in cruise control mode (I
mean adjusts the speed, not steers the car), but it will now sound an
audible alarm and put on the breaks if it looks like the car is going to
hit something (their commercial shows someone not paying attention and
drifting over the center line and heading for an oncoming car in the
other lane).  And they've already had for years a feature which would
"steer" the car out of a skid by adjusting the breaks only on the wheels
of one side.
All of these little "safety" features are slowly adding up to a car
which can drive itself; but still, I'm truly surprise that google thinks
they can have something on the road in only 8 years!


        From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Charles Atkins
        Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 5:08 PM
        To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        Subject: [tabi] Re: Google is testing cars that drive themselves
        It's coming!  If Google said it, You can expect it!  

                ----- Original Message ----- 
                From: Chip Orange <mailto:Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>  
                To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
                Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 5:03 PM
                Subject: [tabi] Google is testing cars that drive


                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
<http://mashable.com/2010/03/19/android-roewe-350/> . 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
c=me> .

                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
<http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/28/schmidt-on-future/>  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

                Google doesn't say it explicitly, but TechCrunch was
quick to note <http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/09/google-car/>  that this
time could be spent using Google products and absorbing Google-run

                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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