Could it be, that after decades of failed predictions, especially where flying cars were concerned, that science is finally making good on its promise of robot cars? Well, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, that’s what’s going to happen. Just two days ago, Brin was on hand for the signing of a bill in the California legislature which establishes safety and performance standards for cars operated by computers on California roads and highways. As the third state to pass this law – Nevada and Florida have already signed similar provisions – California will now allow licensed drivers to use automated vehicles, once they become commonplace.
Apparently, Google has been testing the concept quite extensively. Several prototypes have been developed, and over 300,000 miles worth of driving have been conducted for the sake of testing the software. Brin admits that their are bugs that still need to be worked out, such as improving the sensors and hardware failure supports for the technology. In addition, there are the big challenges of adapting the vehicles to “tricky situations”, such as weather conditions, temporary construction, and emergency vehicles. In any and all of these cases, the robots need to be able to interpret the situation and respond accordingly.
However, Sergey and Larry are confident, stating that “Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control.” And, unless science fiction and futursist have been lying to me all this time, the robot cars are likely to come with manual control as well, just in case the driver feels the need to take the wheel and do a little hands-on driving! After all, the purpose of this technology is ensure our safety and comfort right? And what’s more comfortable than turning on the autopilot?
Source: CNET News