A look into the future? The car that drives itself


Google surprised the automotive world with the recent announcement that the company has produced its own fleet of driverless Toyota Priuses. The company says that its cars have driven themselves for 140,000 miles?with a driver in the seat, just in case?making Google’s fleet the most thoroughly tested autonomous cars to date.

Makes one wonder how long before the S-class Mercedes adopts this technology and how much longer before the mundane cars get it as well.

It’s better than the current state of driving where everyone is too distracted by their mp3 players, text messaging and navigation screens.


Pretty sad, more confidence in computers than people. Not unjustified, just sad.

I can rationalize the advantages in congested areas if the system can be made compatible from one car to another and linked to traffic flow. If might work to everyone’s advantage. Not around here though where the moose and deer have to be part of the equation. They seem to resist being part of any system and will not give up right of way.

I can see this working pretty well in a place like Boston and NYC, but you are right about the rural areas. Though I imagine with stuff like FLIR and such(some cars have this today), they could incorporate this into the vehicle so it’ll detect those deer and moose before they become an accident.

Limited access highways even with detection abilities, I’d treat such with the same respect as as train tracks. Besides, will such capabilities have the good judgment to slow down when the scenery, especially the two legged kind, is worth a second look.

Will it automatically avoid a skunk?

The E-Class MBs are already using radar to control speed in traffic and even for accident avoidance.

Keep in mind this is still in it’s infancy, so there’s tons more testing and millions of dollars to be thrown at this before it becomes better. I’m sure you guys have seen me make jokes about 20~25 years from now cars would be driving themselves, but reading this news article makes me think it’ll happen some day. Yeah, it’ll probably be limited to congested cities at first, probably more as taxis first, but as it becomes more and more reliable, it’ll make it’s way down the line.

The BBC show Top Gear tested a BMW 5 Series(?) a couple of years ago that would drive itself around their test track without any driver input.

The host was a bit antsy about 100 MPH+ top speeds and 80 MPH cornering without touching the steering wheel or pedals; but it worked.
As long as a fuse doesn’t blow or the computer doesn’t hiccup… :slight_smile:

I remember that. plus they had the Lexus on there that parked itself as well.

Some more news on driverless vehicles

This will never happen in the real world…Any company thinking about marketing a “driverless” system could not possible afford the liability insurance such a system would require…

A feeding frenzy for lawyers…

I don’t believe that I would want this; I like to drive. The cost of the option would likely include padding to pay off the trial lawyers. As evidence of my sincerity, I have a manual shift car.

If you don’t want to drive, take the bus.

but how many people actually drive anymore?
How often does one drive down the freeway seeing people eating a sammich while talking on the phone, looking back to yell at their kids

As an ex-employee of Google, let me tell you that there’s no way in hell I would want them to build an auto driver program for use in any of my vehicles.

Not that I’m saying that they can’t build it, and have it work (some of the time, that is).

But let’s say that you had a problem with it.
You put in the address to your sister’s house in Chicago, and it takes you to Buffalo instead.

So then you call up Google, or you send them an email, and ask them why your car is taking you to Buffalo, instead of Chicago, and you don’t get a response for days, and when you do, its a form letter asking you to check their knowledge base to see if anyone else has previously reported going to Buffalo instead of Chicago, or to use their User Forums, and ask the other people with the system if they know how to resolve the issue.

Google isn’t a company that you want to buy a product from, and expect customer service.
It isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, I would love a system like this for the only type of driving I do that this would be beneficial:

Long distance, cross country trips.

It takes 30+ hours to get from Denver to NYC, and that’s when I would use it.

But not from Google, or in any way designed by Google.


What if it gets confused and puts you into a bridge abutment at 75 MPH…Who does your next of kin call then??

When I started in the late 60’s working for a large avionics/electronic company, the engineers said they had the capacity to produce an airplane which could take off, fly where they wanted, and land by itself. Still hasn’t happened for the safety reasons stated here.

Of course, we do have the RC military drones in service.

Wow, finally someone who might understand my paranoia when I see os for cars powered by windows! To me it seems windows want to be your entertainment center, video and mpg player, communication center and now your car, but a stable backwards compatible operating system is secondary to how many tricks they want to show off at CES. I do have to wonder about the fact you now have to hit the start button to shut down your car!

Aircraft can now takeoff and land on autopilot…But the human pilot still must taxi them around the airport…