My Car Quest

August 24, 2019

Two Google Self Driving Cars On The Road

by Mike –

Google is developing technology for driverless cars – why Google is doing this I do not know. I wish they would spend this money and time figuring out how to list their search results in a more logical manner.

Self Driving Cars Are Now Legal in Nevada, Florida and California

Nevada passed a law in 2011 permitting the operation of driverless cars. Google has been lobbying for driverless car laws (again why?) and Nevada issued the first license for a self-driven car in May 2012 to a Toyota Prius modified with Google’s driverless technology.

Why Nevada? They are natural born gamblers – risk takers, especially if there is money to be made – there must be an angle somewhere.

I don’t know why Nevada beat California in implementing this new law. California is usually the first to do new stuff especially stuff that is cool, on the leading edge and is likely decades away from reality, like balancing the state budget.

Maybe because Nevada has a lot of empty roads and no one really cares? Nevada was first and now two other states allow driverless cars: Florida and California.

On The Road

Google Self Driving Car

Google has a fleet of at least ten vehicles, consisting of six Toyota Prius, an Audi TT, and three Lexus RX450h, each accompanied in the driver’s seat by an excellent driver and in the passenger seat by one of Google’s engineers, who may or may not be a good driver.

They have driven down the winding Lombard Street in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and have driven around Lake Tahoe.

And last Friday two of the Google modified Lexus RX450h vehicles were driving on Interstate 280 in Los Altos, California heading North just ahead of me. This is an easy drive so not much of a test but I am sure they had their reasons for choosing this route.

I saw the tripod with a whirling cylinder on the top of the car and I thought it was a Google street map car (which for some reason I have seen on the small street where I live twice in the past five years) but this car was different. Then I had my clue – on the back bumper was the Google logo on the left and on the right the words Self Driving Car.

Then I knew, I was witnessing the future of the automobile, whether I liked it or not. It may be far in the future but it is likely the future.

Google Self Driving Car

These photos are the best that I could do using my iPhone 5 while driving – but if I would have been in a Self Driving Car I could have taken much better photos!

For those of you resisting the change to electric cars you are going to have a rough time with an electric car that does not need a driver.

In addition to the technology challenges of Self Driving Cars there are also complex legal problems to overcome. Like the liabilities associated with an accident when a human is not driving.

I don’t think the insurance companies have figured this out yet. I suspect that the litigation lawyers are waiting for this opportunity.

Google Self Driving Car

Let us know what you think about Self Driving Cars in the Comments.

 

 

Google Self Driving Car

Comments

  1. ~ this is technology we who love cars and driving should really dread. it’s scarier than gun control. i’m only half serious, i’d really like to see a driverless race prep unit at 10/10s on Lumbard or Mulholland.

  2. As a guy who has made cars and driving a career, I welcome this new technology. I don’t see it driving every car on the road, although someday it may. In the near future, I see it as the absolute coolest cruise control ever put on a car. I think it will be here and available as a very expensive option within the decade. Look for it to be as ubiquitous as ABS by 2025. How nice to be able to get into my car and just tell it to take me someplace. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. What about the future of taxi drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers? If cars, and I assume trucks, can drive themselves then eventually the law will allow them to be driven without a person supervisor, just like Jonny-Cab in the movie Total Recall.

    • Yes the end result, the autonomous car. I assume that engineers will provide a decent solution for a single car, but the next step would be to control it on a large scale.

      So if you can imagine getting on the freeway running up to speed and never stepping on the brake all the way to your destination? The amount of fuel saved would be huge.

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