Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010

Google's Driverless Car

Is it an autoautomobile? An aut2.0mobile? Whatever you call it, Google's new Prius — tricked out with radar sensors, video cameras and a laser range finder — has driven itself 140,000 miles without an unscheduled meeting with a light pole. Other geek squads have been running driverless vehicles in the California desert for years, partly at the behest of the U.S. Department of Defense. But only Google can rev the petabyte-sucking mapping technology that guides its car along busy streets and highways. The goal is safety — an admirable one given the world's million-plus auto fatalities each year. Driverless technology is logical and efficient, and in the near future, it could transform your commute into stress-free transport on a motorized sofa. The sad part for road hogs: if Google is successful in marketing its technology to automakers, you may never get to flip the bird at another driver again.