Here’s an interesting piece of tech – driver-less cars. People have been trying to get the concept to gain traction for years and the most recent attempts that were close to market potential were achieved by Audi, Volvo and Mercedes with their magnet rail prototype. Google’s approach is far simple with a GPS-connected Prius, the latest version of Google Maps and a pre-loaded version of the routes that Google’s cars took when mapping the roads of the world.
Google’s project now has obtained permission from the Nevada Department of Motor vehicles after a private demonstration. The state department previously had to draft up amendments to existing road laws to allow the cars to be on the road.
Its an interesting development. We last saw driver-less cars in two recent-ish films: I, Robot (with the Audi RSQ/R8 concept that could drive itself) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The famous Kitt could also drive himself anywhere without Michael, and the public has always been enamoured with the idea of a car that can “think” for itself and drive without your assistance.
While it would take out the fun in driving, I suppose that’s why the Prius was selected as its possibly the most boring car on the planet (I lie, actually, that honour goes to the Morris Marina). While the cars are able to take corners, speed up and down and drive on freeways by themselves, the driver always has to be present to take control of the situation should the auto-pilot decide to have a massive brain fart or come across a paradox.
In addition, the cars get special license plates that alert law enforcement and other drivers on the road that the car is automated and in the testing phase. The vehicles are all privately owned by Google, and one day the company hopes to launch the system for motorcar manufacturers as an add-on option once the patent pending is awarded to them.
But here’s the thing. Given that the car uses Google Maps and the system would track your EVERY move, would you really want that? The search giant recently amended its terms and conditions of use of their services and it basically amounts to: “We now can legally know what you’re doing on our servers all the time, everytime. We will sell this off, and keep the interesting stuff to ourselves. Kthnxbai!”
Oh yeah, Google can also control the cars remotely. Is that you, Skynet?
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