Google, you can drive my car?

Discuss

32 Responses to “Google, you can drive my car?”

  1. 2k says:

    “…mimic the decisions made by a human driver.”

    It’s going to get drunk, cut up merging traffic, knock into cyclists and swear and gesticulate at everything in view, up to and including including the car it’s driving?

    And there was me; convinced that we were at least 10+ years away from such sophisticated AI.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I work at a one of the Automotive companies here in the US and know for certain this has been a project for years. In fact I am certain all auto companies are working on this. I doubt anyone will MAKE you use the feature, but i could see myself happily reading Boing Boing during my morning commute.

  3. jabo27 says:

    good good good. Any robot will drive better than a teenager. productivity will sky rocket because now we can actually use the 2 hour round trip of commuting time to do something other than stare at other cars. and alcoholism will skyrocket because everyone will have a bar in the back seat. and with cameras on every car, we can get real time traffic cams from anywhere. and I like the idea of summoning my car like batman (and perhaps not paying for parking). and not having to endure my cabbie getting mad and throwing pennies at the cab next to us would be a bonus too. come onnnnnn robot cars!

    • Anonymous says:

      So when is Google going to untangle the mess of dubious land-use decisions that force people to spend two hours a day rocketing around at life-threatening speeds just to get from where they sleep to where they get paid for doing anything?

      • jackbird says:

        That would be when they index, streamline, and add ancillary services to a global telecommunications network that allows many people to work productively from home at least part of the time, and to contract out what used to be local errands to online merchants and delivery services.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with summoning your car like Batman is that it would almost double traffic in city cores. Drive to work, send your car home. Summon your car, drive home. Four trips where once you had two.

  4. uildaan says:

    cant wait for this

    -would much rather be reading a book than driving myself
    -solves parking hassles
    -no need to pay huge taxi fees
    -gets rid of road rage
    -no more problems driving while on a phone
    etc

  5. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    And stop it with the skynet worries. How many of you own and carry a cellphone? That thing knows where you are and who you call in and out of your car already. How many people have a gmail account? It’s scraping your data for marketing purposes. I’m not saying Google’s omniscience is right, but I am saying it’s already there.

    I can’t help but feel you massively underestimate the potential dangers of SkyNet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with #15, Driverless cars aren’t new. http://www.scienceinseconds.com/episodes/Driverless-Cars

    But at least this might take the worst drivers off the road – what I mean is all humans…seriously have you ever seen migratory birds get into an accident. All humans who commute are dumb as rocks.

    But – can we at least program the car to flip the bird?

  7. Anonymous says:

    can we just please improve/expand public transportation buses/light rail/trolleys/trains?

  8. gwailo_joe says:

    OK. . .I’ve been checking the recent posts and leaving (mostly) good natured comments. . .because, well, I think BB is cool and it informs me and opens my mind to a vast array of thoughts and ideas that I would not otherwise be privy to. . .

    But can I say how much I HATE this idea? Miserable Luddite Anti-Progress caveman that I am.

    Dont be evil??? HA! ‘plug in to our grid, we’re helping!’

    Assimilate THIS Motherfuckers! I ain’t having it! You’ll take my steering wheel when you pry it from my cold, dead finge. . no. I’m again’ it.

    40K souls every year is quite a number. But you would have people so disassociated from the car they drive. . .in two generations they’ll forget HOW. Much less have the knowledge to fix the damn thing?!?

    When the Power finally goes out many generations from now, the blobby majority will sit in their shockingly stopped Perso-Pods and sit. and sit. and sit. Waiting for BigBroCor(pse) to come fix it.

    And that help will never come.

  9. Forwardista says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t know how to drive a horse and buggy…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Traffic will only get worse. Not progress can be made with alternate transportation systems as long as people have the option to drive themselves.

    I can’t wait, for my auto-auto.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Technology like this has already been around. People just don’t trust cars to do that for them.

    • turn_self_off says:

      I wonder what people would say if they knew aircrafts are flown by computers more often then not these days.

      • Anonymous says:

        Psh, that’s easy. If you run into a cloud, all you get is wet. If you drive up a curb and into the corner of a building…

  12. Anonymous says:

    God, just what I don’t need, an A.I. who’s going to know how often I go to McDonalds. One day it will realize how pathetic it’s life is and drive me over a cliff :(

  13. UncaScrooge says:

    The reluctance to automate our miserable and wasteful commutes stems from motivations that have nothing to do with driving or safety.

    I recently had to give up public transportation for private. I sure do miss all of the reading I used to be able to do. 20 years of reading while commuting = cheap college education. Bring on the “Automobile” says I.

  14. knoxblox says:

    Okay, so if this concept of self-guiding cars EVER becomes the norm, I’ll bet you could still get ticketed/arrested for DUI.

  15. Felton / Moderator says:

    It’s about time someone invented the Johnny Cab.

  16. Skidds says:

    Hate to rain on the sci-fi parade, but this will take the liability of a crash and place it on the car manufacturers. I doubt they will want to take that responsibility on. The only way this will reach the consumer is if insurance companies get on board and completely retool their payout systems. That alone will push this back a decade.

  17. Spikeles says:

    Great idea… because automated computer systems in cars NEVER fail.

    • Anonymous says:

      It only needs to fail less often than humans which doesn’t sound impossible to me.

      • Moriarty says:

        If people were strictly rational, it would only need to be safer than human drivers. However, I’m guessing that it would have to be at least 10 times as safe as humans before enough people are willing to use them.

  18. airshowfan says:

    My initial response was: Make this just like an airliner’s autopilot. It can drive you around, but a trained and licensed person (and one who has had recent experience actually operating the vehicle by hand) must be sitting by the controls in order to take charge quickly in case something goes wrong. Pilots may spend the majority of flights reading a newspaper or playing with a laptop, but their hands are inches from the yoke at all times.

    But then I realized that, when you’re at 30,000 feet, it takes several seconds at LEAST for any problem to become remotely life-threatening (or at least any problem that can be corrected by the pilot’s control inputs). But a car can hit something real fast, since it’s only a few feet away from other cars, buildings, telephone poles, and people. If the autopilot fails, you need a quicker reaction time in a car than in a plane.

  19. Donald Petersen says:

    When it comes to things like this, I *am* a bit of a Luddite. I used to favor such an idea, but Toyota’s recent spate of problems concerning uncommanded acceleration and the apparent inability of some highly-trained drivers to override same have led me to take a very dim view of handing this much control over to automation.

    The problem is not specifically Toyota, although the idea that what for years topped my own personal ranking as World’s Best All-Around Automaker could fall into this trap has seriously horrified me.

    I’m the first to acknowledge that a huge percentage of human drivers are simply Not Very Good. But Toyota has shown us what happens when you introduce too much software into what shouldn’t be an incredibly complicated system. Cars don’t have to do a lot of things that they didn’t do forty years ago: they should accelerate, brake, and steer safely and above all predictably. The user interface hasn’t changed a hell of a lot since the Ford Model A, after which nearly every mass-produced car used one’s feet for braking and acceleration (and the clutch in manual transmissions) while steering and gear-changing used the hands. The biggest difference between now and then is, of course, a greater focus on safety, fuel economy, and emissions control.

    Certainly all of these are greatly benefitted by extensive computer control, when it works right. And certainly all automakers, modern and historic, have been plagued by more mechanical difficulties (many requiring extensive recalls) than software issues. But I foresee a day when a standard Firmware Update, broadcast en masse to all the 2015 Ford F150s (for example) and intended to result in a 1.2% increase in fuel economy and patching a bug in FordTruckOS v2.3.6 that prevented the fuel filler door from closing securely in cold weather, inadvertently introducing a new bug that triggers Toyota-style uncommanded W.O.T. at 5:00 AM CST on the fifth of every month. And of course, nobody notices until an unexplained rash of simultaneous truck crashes involving farmers coming back from the milking barns every month makes headlines.

    See, it’s the ubiquity and instantaneous nature of software, and the constant need for fixes and patches and updates, that makes me wanna keep SkyNet away from the controls for as long as possible. Because no matter how bad a driver Old MacDonald might be when he hasn’t had his coffee yet, if he wrecks his truck it only ruins his day. If bad software (whether malicious viri or accidental bugs) gets broadcast to machinery that transports thousands (or millions) of people around the world at 70+mph, then the potential risks quickly get scary indeed.

    • turn_self_off says:

      Have anyone found the actual bug that “caused” these accidents?

      Last i read anything related to it, it seemed more likely that people had confused the breaks for the throttle and then panicked (these cars are automatics after all, so there are only two pedals).

      As for #23′s comment about busses and such, the reason for people opting for cars are that cars are available when the user wants to go somewhere. Busses and such may stop running, or have longer waiting periods, in non-office hours. And it is easier to to shopping when one can stuff the back seat with bags, and kids, then having to navigate it all in a crowded buss.

      • Anonymous says:

        “As for #23′s comment about busses and such, the reason for people opting for cars are that cars are available when the user wants to go somewhere. Busses and such may stop running, or have longer waiting periods, in non-office hours. And it is easier to to shopping when one can stuff the back seat with bags, and kids, then having to navigate it all in a crowded bus”

        That’s my point. Improve/increase service. Light rail/bus/trolley/train. More stops, shorter waiting periods, less crowds.

        And Mr. Anon makes a good point: “So when is Google going to untangle the mess of dubious land-use decisions that force people to spend two hours a day rocketing around at life-threatening speeds just to get from where they sleep to where they get paid for doing anything?”

  20. josh909 says:

    This does nothing to allay my fears that Google will become Skynet :|

  21. TheFirstMan says:

    I’ve wanted this to become a reality for a long time. Removing driver error? Yes please. Just hop in, set your destination, throw the headphones on, and daydream. Less hassle, more safety.

    And stop it with the skynet worries. How many of you own and carry a cellphone? That thing knows where you are and who you call in and out of your car already. How many people have a gmail account? It’s scraping your data for marketing purposes. I’m not saying Google’s omniscience is right, but I am saying it’s already there.

  22. Anonymous says:

    1. A driverless cars road trip from Rome to Shanghai is taking place at this very moment. A project of Professor Alberto Broggi of the University of Parma
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128699923

    2. Also this week a driverless car (“Leonie”) from the TUI Braunschweig Germany was driving through the city of Braunschweig for the first time in normal traffic (dealing with heavy city-traffic, traffic-lights and roadsigns). This was a world’s first.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQPVwL9921g

    3. Google is 8 year behind, but each time they bring the gear toys out to play, press will be there.

    • Robert says:

      @Anon #15. Google may be “8 years behind”, but that should also mean that U Parma and TUI Braunschweig are 8 years ahead. Something tells me that Google stands a better chance of actually getting this out of the ivory tower and into the hands of the common folk.

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