The BIG ideas people at Google announced yesterday that they have branched out of their usual field of web-based dominance to try their hand in the automative industry. But, as this is Google, they are not any old cars that have been road tested. Google’s cars, which drive themselves automatically in traffic, have been on the roads for months in California.
The cars use video cameras mounted on the roof, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic. Click here to see the Google car in action.
The benefits include halving the number of automobile-related deaths (because computers are supposedly better at driving than humans in the right circumstances), reduction in congestion (because the vehicles’ instant reaction time and 360-degree awareness would allow them to drive closer together on the highway than humans can), reduction in fuel consumption (because the computer would be more efficient operating the gas) and, here’s the crux of the matter, the daily commute time the car owner would save – time which could better be spent using Google products and absorbing Google-run advertising….
Critics refute even the most conservative estimations that this technology will be in the marketplace by 2018 due to current traffic laws. However, these could actually be changed very quickly, particularly if the relevant UK government took seriously the initiative’s green credentials. Jeremy Clarkson will naturally have his own concerns related to the computer’s speed limitor.
But, what a BIG idea. And the best bit: The only accident that has occurred thus far involving the automated vehicles was when one was rear-ended at traffic lights, by a human operated car!