Google Shows Off its Self-Driving Car

For some, driving is a relaxing and exhilarating pastime that helps them forget the stress of everyday life. But for those of us without Ferraris, it can be a major pain in the butt.

Thankfully, Google is working on a self-driving car that could allow daily commuters to give up the grind once and for all.

In a recent video posted to its social networking service, Google+, the company shows off its cutting-edge Toyota Prius, which requires no human driver. Along for the ride in the video is Steve Mahan, head of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center and someone who is 95 per cent blind himself.

“Look, ma! No hands. And no feet!” Mahan yells as the car makes pit stops at a local Taco Bell and dry cleaner.

Advocates for the blind like Mahan see a huge upside to the development of this type of technology. “Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things,” Mahan said.

Eric Bridges, a director for the American Council of the Blind, agrees.

“The concept of it is pretty awesome,” Bridges said, adding, “There are a lot of hoops that are going to need to be jumped through in the years to come: Things like driver’s licenses and regulatory stuff to allow these vehicles to traverse roadways. But the technology is absolutely intriguing.”

Google has been working on the project since 2010. The car works by using radar sensors, laser beams and video cameras to safely navigate the road ahead. It all sounds almost sci-fi, but clearly Google is moving forward with the project.

Unfortunately, there’s still lots of work to be done. “There’s much left to design and test, but we’ve now safely completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, gathering great experiences and an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters,” Google said in a recent statement.

Still, there’s reason to believe self-driving cars are on the horizon. At least, it seems the State of Nevada thinks so: according to reports, it recently legalized self-driving cars.

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2 Responses to Google Shows Off its Self-Driving Car

  1. Self-driving vehicles have been used in India for generations, for a fraction of the price utilizing the authentic bio technology: http://jpgmag.com/photos/3273356

  2. Well, that video was pretty cool. Maybe it’s a sign we’re one step closer to SkyNet taking over everything, assuming that’s not the case this is really exciting. How cool was that to see a blind guy being able to drive to Taco Bell and complete a drive-thru order? Amazing, and think of the possibilities for people with other disabilities, the elderly, etc.

    Also, what cool music in this video, I’ve been a fan of The Album Leaf forever and “We Need Help” is such a fitting song. Inspiring stuff, Google.