I like re-framing the concept from something extraordinary with lots of technology and costing hundreds of thousands to car for all...I easily see nobody owning a car in 50 years (like nobody owns a train, a plane or a bus with few very minor exceptions)...but how do we get there is not clear to me...for 50 years there will be a mix of people and computers driving the cars...Kris
This seems like a step in the right direction. Rather than gradually wean folks off of driving, offer them a viable replacement. Something like this could start operating in restricted areas of cities or communities, for instance, as an alternative form of public transportation (the taxi driverw would hate it). Then, as people got used to being driven about by a machine, the self-directed vehicles could be phased out by raising the driver skill level requirements so that not just everyone could get a driver's license.
@kris, I am glad you like this reframing of the concept. I have always suspected this but I think Google's latest video clip makes it clear...this ain't a car as we know it for our own driving, but it is simply a "ride" -- another transportation mechanism.
Rather than envisioning the day when nobody owns the car, I'd like to see it yet another transportation mechanism we can use when we feel like it...
I wonder what is currently being discussed or soon to be discussed in the boardrooms of Tesla, Nissan, Crysler, GM, Ford et al? Google, with this and also their Maps and their Streetview have a huge headstart on any answer they may respond with.
Feels to me like a compelling medium-term threat to their skin in the game.
Lovely!! Google has demonstrated again that the team Google has the capability of innovating the right product. This is what is expected out of the self driving car....passengers would just have to seat and enjoy...rest will be taken care by car's automated driving system. Next step would be to demonstrate the same car moving on a busy road...and hope to see that soon!
I agree Rich, that sounds liek a sensible thing to do...I would welcome rising levels of driving skills required right now, half of the people where I live (Vancouver) don't know how to drive...and don't get me started on texting while driving, that already kills more people than alkochol
"Something like this could start operating in restricted areas of cities or communities"
I think this hits the nail on the head. One of the fears I head about self driving cars relates to all of the variabilities that exist when driving. Remove a lot of the variables and a lot of those concerns become mitigated.
I have seen this LASER device on top of the vehicle, and think that it falls far short of what it is wanting or supposed to do.
Instead of the "Bubble-Gum" machine on top, they should have pulse coded LASERs surounding the car horizontally, and then some on top to check for low clearances. Then use the available Radar sensors (Front & Back) to judge distance between other vehicles, and GPS for positionning the vehicle.
Why did they settle for such a silly device as they did, when better technology is already in use on standard cars today?
I don't argue that having a self automation vehicle is a good thing to have, and there are some foundations that might be in a possition to institute them into a transit program in some cities.
But, Google needs to find some new blood for their mix of "Techies" to start thinking further than where they are right now. I think their technology for this auto is in a stale-mate, and won't go into production untill they get rid of the LASER scanner on the roof. Somebody there must have a personal interest or agenda for keeping that rediculus thing.
Just some of my musings over it. I would like to see them in production, but make it realistically functional, and safe for the passengers.