This week we’re one step closer to a total revolution in transportation: the prototypes of Google’s self-driving car have traversed 300,000 miles without a single accident (the few exceptions were due to human meddling). Lucky Google employees now use the computer-controlled cars on their daily commute, and as soon as the engineers fine tune the vehicles’ perfomance in rockier terrain, one hopes the public will get a look in. TechCrunch reports:
“One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars,” said Chris Urmson, Google’s engineering lead for this project, in a blog post today, “For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed.” There have, of course been some accidents that involved Google’s self-driving cars in the past. All of these, however, happened while humans were in control of the cars.
Via Meadia has been keeping a tab on this project, not only as a fascinating technological breakthrough but also as a harbinger of a new age of transportation, possibly as revolutionary as the steam engine in the 18th century. Whether you like it or not (and we like it), the closer these automatons get to the mass market, the further we’ll be from debates over massive, wasteful and hamfisted investments in things like high-speed rail.For our part, we wish those Google geeks the best of luck.