Google Updates ACB on its “Self-Driving” Car
“This is some of the best driving I’ve ever done,” joked Steve Mahan, who is blind and sitting behind the wheel of Google’s “self-driving” test car, as described by audio from the American Council of the Blind’s 2012 Convention. It is definitely many years off, but Google is on the road to developing the ultimate “hands-free” car using artificial intelligence, GPS, and sensor technologies.
Google representatives told the crowd that so far they have tested their fleet on 250,000 miles of open highway, through cities and across all sorts of terrain in California, Nevada, Washington, D.C. and Florida. “Our goal is to develop fully autonomous, self-driving cars,” said Naomi Black, noting that it will require years of rigorous development and safety testing, as well as overcoming legislative and other hurdles.
Google isn’t alone: According to Wired Magazine, a number of traditional car companies are at work developing driverless technology, many with new R&D labs in Silicon Valley.
Nevada was the first state to pass a law last year allowing driverless cars to be tested on the road as long as there are two people in the vehicle. The first official license was issued to Google, of course. Bills for similar legislation are currently being considered in Florida and California.
Google’s Naomi Black asked ACB members for their continued support in the development of accessible technologies, and to help pass legislation that would further the goal of putting driverless cars on the road, “increasing accessibility, mobility and independence for all.”
Steve Mahan would echo that point. As he said in his Google debut: “The way this car would change my life is it would give me the independence and flexibility to go to the places I want to go and need to go.”