Google’s much anticipated self-driving car is almost ready to hit the streets. With Google’s thirst for innovation we are one step closer to living in a futuristic sci-fi world. Although many people thought that the concept was ridiculous it does seem that Google do indeed have a viable product. Car accidents kill over 1.2 million people every year and 90% of those are caused by human error. Google has said that its primary motive for producing this car was to remove human error from the equation to improve safety. Do Google perhaps have some kind of ulterior motive?
Google Car Specifications
During the testing phase the retro fitted cars managed to log over 700,000 self-driving miles. The cars were accompanied by a test driver and a Google engineer monitoring the software known as chauffeur. This allowed them to monitor how the software was reacting and then teach the software how to react in different situations. It uses sensors to differentiate between different objects and people on the road and adjust its driving accordingly. For example, it can differentiate between pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks. It can also adjust its driving when it is in an area where road work is taking place by sensing the yellow cones. Ensuring the software made the driving experience as natural as possible was one of the primary goals of the project.
This was a very important factor as previous attempts to produce self-driving cars have always failed due to how unnatural the driving felt. They usually accelerated and braked too hard which caused anxiety and fear among the passengers. Natural driving is usually a relatively smooth experience.
This is an amazing step forward that Google have made, but it also has the potential to threaten established industries such as taxi’s, chauffeuring, buses and all methods of public transport. However, if these industries were to fail, millions of jobs would be lost around the world. If Google was responsible for so many job losses, would the introduction of self-driving cars really be such a great thing?
Despite the potential negative effects, self-driving cars bring so many more positive aspects. The cars are extremely fuel efficient and have a maximum speed of 25mph. This gives them an extremely low carbon footprint compared to the majority of cars on the road. Their introduction would lead to a reduction in the amount of smog in cities such as Beijing. The removal of human error from driving would also lead to much safer roads and cities for everyone.
Google’s ‘green’ mission is clear, but is this a cover story for the real reason behind their latest project? Google has already managed to infiltrate so many parts of our lives; through mobile phones, netbooks, a fiber optic company and now they are even trying to control the heating in our homes with the recent acquisition of the Nest wireless home heating service. While Google surely wants to create a cleaner, safer way of driving, it would be naive to think Google did not want to include self-driving cars as part of their scheme to reach as many aspects of our lives as possible. Perhaps even creating a world controlled by Google.
Do you think that Google’s intentions are entirely pure? Or do you think they have additional ulterior motives? Your thoughts and comments below please…