Sunday, 22 May 2011

Google's robot car

I know this is old news and I know that it's geeky, but these videos of Google's robot car are awesome!

How the mainstream auto industry can claim that we're 25 years from a commercial self-driving car is beyond me. The benefits in terms of road safety and fuel efficiency are too great to pass up for uninformed or pre-meditated concerns about handing over control of a fast moving lump of metal to a computer. After all, most new cars are "drive-by-wire" - a computer is already between you and the major controls, you're just not aware of it!

Doubtless the cost of laser radar and the computer systems will be substantial, but I wonder whether they're much worse than the battery packs and charging gear of an electric car. Given the hideous compromises in environmental impact and convenience of the latter, perhaps governments should be promoting self-driving rather than "zero-emissions" as a way of reducing carbon emissions? Probably too far fetched - sadly politicians don't dream...

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