Categories
Austin Technology

Mueller: Kitty Hawk of Self-Driving Cars

Google announced this week that it spun off their self-driving car division into a new company within the Alphabet umbrella, Waymo. With the announcement, they also announced that they completed the first driverless event on a public roadway—transporting a blind gentleman alone in the car—in 2015 in my neighborhood.

I’ve enjoyed our little Google Waymo friends around the neighborhood. Working from home, I see them driving by the house multiple times a day and get an odd assurance hearing their electric hum as they pass.

Categories
Technology

“Okay Google, Drive Me Home”

google-self-driver

Our safety drivers routinely see people weaving in and out of their lanes; we’ve spotted people reading books, and even one playing a trumpet.

A self-driving car has people beat on this dimension of road safety. With 360 degree visibility and 100% attention out in all directions at all times; our newest sensors can keep track of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians out to a distance of nearly two football fields.

Source: The View from the Front Seat of the Google Self-Driving Car

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car program, pinned an article on Medium1 about the accidents they’ve encountered while testing the car—none of which were the fault of the car.

Would you trust Google to drive your car for you? I would absolutely.

Without regarding to privacy/datamining/Google-knowing-everything concerns, which are valid, the actual technology of a self-driving car would be a great thing for me. I’m getting four hours of sleep a night. Wake up, down coffee, then an hour in traffic taking the kids to school and back. I consider myself an excellent driver—never been at fault for a crash, no moving violations in ~10 years, I stop for birds who are slow to fly out of the way.

Be it as it may, I realize I’m at an intersection and don’t truly remember driving on the upper-deck or taking the exit. Where was my mind? What would have happened if someone slammed on their brakes in front of me? What if someone was running across the exit lane? How slow would my reaction time have been?

I’d need to adapt to a day where I sit in the backseat and Google does it all for me, but a fully aware, adaptive system that provides me relevant alerts and notices for things to be aware of while correcting me when I lane-drift or someone else starts to lane-drift into me would be invaluable. I’d sign up in a heartbeat as soon as I could afford it.


  1. Do you want to use WordPress 4.2’s Press This with stories on Medium? Wonder why you can’t? A little thing Medium did, but Press This Extended will make it work for you. Just activate it and Press This on Medium to your heart’s content.