Never drive yourself to work again, and I don’t mean take the bus or the train, Google are working on a car that drives itself.
It’s partly been made possible by Google Maps, they have a ton of map data collected using manually driven vehicles) but the automated cars also use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic.
The cars aren’t quite ready for production yet though, Google never sends them out unmanned. They always have a trained safety driver behind the wheel who can take over as easily as one disengages cruise control. Plus up until now they’ve also have a trained software operator in the passenger seat to monitor the software. Any test begins by sending out a driver in a conventionally driven car to map the route and road conditions. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance.
Google say that they’ve now driven over 300,000 miles of testing and that anything up to a dozen self driving cars are on the road at any one time. They’re now ready to start sending the cars out with a solo driver and actually use them for things like commuting to work. They won’t be sitting in the back seat browsing on their Android tablets just yet though, they’ll still be alert ready to take over if need be.
However, If Google think I’ll be productive checking my emails and working on the way into the office they’re very much mistaken. I can’t wait for the cars to be ready but can I order the version with the sleeper cab please?