Guess who generated a lot of buzz last week, its none other than Google as always! It gave the world a peep into the future, as only it can, this time with a innovative version of the company’s long-gestating self-driving car.

Unlike the versions that we’ve seen up to now, which was a modded-up Lexus SUV, this new independent vehicle looked like something out of a Pixar movie, a small bubble car with a faintly happy face on the front, and completely no steering wheel or pedals.

According to Chris Urmson, head of Google’s self-driving car project says “The legacy features of a car have been dispensed with, because drivers can’t really be trusted to leave the car to drive itself as they would want to grab the wheel at the merest insinuation of danger.” The idea behind the design, we guess, is a clever way of overcoming some of those inevitable fears about autonomous vehicles

Unquestionably, amidst the vast technical and regulatory challenges, it could probably take couple of years before these cars take over our roads, but there is no reason not to believe that day won’t come.

However “auto autos” (autonomous automobiles) does have the potential to transform far more than merely what it means “to drive”; over time, these cars will be extremely disruptive on a large economic and social scale, reforming our cities and annihilating entire industries.

The most apparent benefit of these cars being a remarkable reduction in road deaths as it is a known fact that most car crashes are caused by human error, these cars will also allow for a steady change in urban design. The improved safety levels will lead to much higher road density as the cars will be able to drive much closer together, and will dramatically lessen the time wasted in traffic jams. They will also be considerably more fuel efficient.

As Urmson points out, cars today are idle 90-95 per cent of the time, but these self-driving cars lend themselves to sharing, something like carpooling rather than individual ownership which will mean that they will operate more like taxis than cars. One impact of such a technology will be far less precious city-centre space given over to car-parking. However, some design theorists suspect that more competent self-driving cars will increase further the suburban sprawl, as longer commuting distances become more realistic.

Some other, even problematic changes can also be expected – the taxi, trucking and delivery industries are doubtful to survive in their current states, implication a lot of jobs will be lost. In that sense, self-driving cars augur a future when pervading robotics becomes a real issue in employment levels – and the consequences could be ugly.

Like all such predictions, it’s wise to acknowledge that the reality might considerably differ from the vision embarked here, but once again let’s not let the pretty appearance fool us – the self-driving car is going to have a major impact on the way people live life on this planet

Category
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Technology on wheels, Another Breakthrough Innovation by Google

 85

Guess who generated a lot of buzz last week, its none other than Google as always! It gave the world a peep into the future, as only it can, this time with a innovative version of the company’s long-gestating self-driving car.

Unlike the versions that we’ve seen up to now, which was a modded-up Lexus SUV, this new independent vehicle looked like something out of a Pixar movie, a small bubble car with a faintly happy face on the front, and completely no steering wheel or pedals.

According to Chris Urmson, head of Google’s self-driving car project says “The legacy features of a car have been dispensed with, because drivers can’t really be trusted to leave the car to drive itself as they would want to grab the wheel at the merest insinuation of danger.” The idea behind the design, we guess, is a clever way of overcoming some of those inevitable fears about autonomous vehicles

Unquestionably, amidst the vast technical and regulatory challenges, it could probably take couple of years before these cars take over our roads, but there is no reason not to believe that day won’t come.

However “auto autos” (autonomous automobiles) does have the potential to transform far more than merely what it means “to drive”; over time, these cars will be extremely disruptive on a large economic and social scale, reforming our cities and annihilating entire industries.

The most apparent benefit of these cars being a remarkable reduction in road deaths as it is a known fact that most car crashes are caused by human error, these cars will also allow for a steady change in urban design. The improved safety levels will lead to much higher road density as the cars will be able to drive much closer together, and will dramatically lessen the time wasted in traffic jams. They will also be considerably more fuel efficient.

As Urmson points out, cars today are idle 90-95 per cent of the time, but these self-driving cars lend themselves to sharing, something like carpooling rather than individual ownership which will mean that they will operate more like taxis than cars. One impact of such a technology will be far less precious city-centre space given over to car-parking. However, some design theorists suspect that more competent self-driving cars will increase further the suburban sprawl, as longer commuting distances become more realistic.

Some other, even problematic changes can also be expected – the taxi, trucking and delivery industries are doubtful to survive in their current states, implication a lot of jobs will be lost. In that sense, self-driving cars augur a future when pervading robotics becomes a real issue in employment levels – and the consequences could be ugly.

Like all such predictions, it’s wise to acknowledge that the reality might considerably differ from the vision embarked here, but once again let’s not let the pretty appearance fool us – the self-driving car is going to have a major impact on the way people live life on this planet

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