"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 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
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 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.
@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...
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.
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