Google Makes Your Car Think For Itself

The Car of the Future? | photo courtesy Flickr user Bill Ward's Brickpile

Google took a turn for The Jetsons last week, debuting it’s much-buzzed robotic car on Good Morning America. Able to operate without a driver, the Google Car system can read the signals from traffic lights and easily navigate its way through a busy street. Already logging over 1,000 test miles, the wheel turns itself and has a failsafe operating system that allows the human “driver” to intervene and take over when things get tricky. Fulfilling the way that people from the early 20th century imagined the future (Rosie the Robot, lest we forget), Google’s new venture pushes the company’s boundaries, and produces puzzling thoughts about the role of the human driver of the future.

California has given Google permission to test this car along its curvy roads, and has deemed the car street legal provided that the human driver is cognizant enough to manage the Google Car in tough times. Yet, what happens when the car becomes fully functional in even the most challenging of situations, like when traffic is maintained by a policeman or traffic guard? At it’s simplest, how does someone even earn the merit of a driver’s license if the car can do all the hard stuff? And even further, what happens when a driver is intoxicated or incapacitated and a car continues operation? A multitude of questions is lurking in this electronic can of worms, but for now, let’s just witness the shiny robotic goodness in the aforementioned clip below.

About Lauren Hockenson

Lauren Hockenson (CAS/COM '11) is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Quad.

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