Boffins working for the Search engine outfit Google have come up with a car that drives itself.
According to the outfit’s official bog, Google has developed the technology and been busy testing a fully automated car that would take the controls out of the hands of distracted drivers, leaving them free to text, eat or apply makeup.
Google’s rationalisation is that people will use their phone, eat, play backgammon while trying to drive, so it is better to have a car that will let them do it.
The automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps to navigate the road ahead.
The outfit has already used the cas on heavily trafficked California roadways and have managed to drive up San Francisco’s curvy Lombard Street, without going around the bend.
All of the test runs have had a driver behind the wheel just in case. The driver can take over easily.
Google thinks that self-driving cars might one day cut by half the more than one million traffic fatalities suffered each year. It will also save cash on petrol because the cars drive a bit more economically.
Of course it could also do some weird things. If you think how your car’s GPS system can drive you down roads that don’t exist, or over cliffs, or even loop forever on that complicated cloverleaf you might not want to trust switching it on at all.
We doubt that the machine could last five minutes in the random high-speed driving which is Rome either. Not unless it could wind down the window and shout cazzo at the other drivers.