Google’s been working on the self-driving car for years now, but it’s mostly been theoretical work; can this actually get on the road and not kill people? Now Google’s taking the next step, and has built an actual prototype of a self-driving car.
The fundamental idea was a vehicle that will go at the push of a button, and Google has at least got that part down. See for yourself:
The idea, of course, is to promote how great this is for everyone, since a lot of drivers cling to the idea that they have control and their lives are totally not in the hands of the idiot who blows the stop sign every weekday morning. But truthfully, Google has a point in that for a lot of people, driving eats up a lot of time and building a self-driving car would save quite a few people some major stress.
That said, the system isn’t perfect. It’s still being tested in parking lots because it will totally pancake squirrels and flatten cyclists who don’t use hand signals. Google itself estimates the technology is five years away from consumer availability, and that’s assuming there aren’t any legal roadblocks. Nor is that getting into how much this thing is going to cost; so far the cheapest self-driving system is in the hundreds of thousands.
Still, it’s good to see we’re not so far away from a world where people who need it can just get in a car and go. We just hope these aren’t be designed to deliver us to the Terminators Google is also building.