Google Has Self-Driving Cars on the Road in Texas
Self-driving cars. On the road. That’s right. Right now, in Austin, Texas, there are self-driving cars on their way, to test out the self-driving capabilities. There will be some safety drivers, but the cars will mostly be trying to drive themselves. This will create a new paradigm in transportation.
For instance, can someone without a license own a car that is self-driving? Another question, then, would be whether or not there would always be some feature that allowed someone to drive the car. Suppose it got into a situation where it did not know what to do. Would it simply be better to build in the technology to existing styles of cars, rather than design new ones around the idea that no one will have to drive?
In any case, Google is using a Lexus. Their goal is obviously to create situation where the test drivers are not necessary, but this could go either way. This sort of technology could be years off, or it could be just around the corner. There could be a number of failures and non-starters, and this test drive from Google could be such a thing. Or it could be a massive success, with the test drivers having to do nothing.
Also read: Google Improving Tools to Traverse the Globe
Just as everyone has eventually moved to smart phones, people would eventually all move to self-driving cars. They would afford a greater deal of freedom. Rather than having to rush home, or worry about getting home in a reasonable time, you can do some of the stuff you would normally have to wait to do in your car. On your way to work, you can organize your stuff, or even do some work, depending on your profession.
For heavy duty professions, it would provide more time to relax in between locations. A driver would still be necessary on a big truck, for instance, if only to secure the load. These trucks move billions of dollars in goods per year, and so they would require someone to watch after them. However, there’d be less error if you were able to have the trucks drive themselves, and the trucks could go for much longer. Presently, drivers have a limit on how long they can drive. If the trucks were driving themselves, perhaps such a limit would not have to exist. The trucks could go straight across the country. The driver would simply refuel the truck, and secure the load, and unload it, and do tasks like that. He’d still have a job, though.
Self-driving cars don’t seem to remove humans in any way. Even a self-driving taxicab would likely require an attendant of some sort, otherwise it might be stolen or vandalized, or someone might not pay. Self-driving buses would have the same quandary. More likely these rides will all be more comfortable. Gradually, it will no longer be humans stopping and going everywhere, but just the cars driving themselves. And this will look a lot smoother, and more regulated.
The beat of technology marches on.