Friday, February 17, 2012

The promise of "The Future" coming true

Say what you will about Google. Sure, it's a big, evil conglomeration intent on running the world. But it's a pretty damn fascinating company to watch.

And I'm not sure about running the world - but if any current major company is going to change the world in a significant way, my money is on Google.

This morning, NPR ran a terrific story on a project currently being undertaken by Google. The story, and Google's current project, literally had me cheering inside the cab of my pickup truck on the way to work today.

Google is developing self-driving cars. The NPR story was about those cars being made road-legal (for testing purposes) in Nevada.

A self-driving car is one of those things that's difficult to concieve. They're featured in a lot of futuristic movies, such as "Minority Report" and "I, Robot," and whenever I see them, I always have a "yeah, right" moment in my brain. That's never gonna happen, I say to myself.

Well, it's happening. And it's happening not only during my lifetime, but during my parents' lifetime. That's pretty cool.

Of course, the technology to make it practical is still some years away. It's expensive, as you can imagine, and the engineers have to make everything safe - and, it would be nice to know the cars' robot brains won't try to kill us while we sleep. However, General Motors makes an optimistic predition in this ABC News article: the technology will be standard in GM cars by 2020.

Self-driving cars have the potential to virtually eliminate auto accidents (think about that!). And these aren't slow-moving granny-mobiles. These suckers can shake a leg.


  1. Ha! I had a plan for this in the sixth grade. Won a science fair award. Electromagnetic motors anchored to single rails. You sit in the back seat and let the rails take you to St.Louis. Google that.

  2. I've read that some have already been on the road in San Francisco. But shouldn't you hate this development, it could pit you out of work. Haha.