Generation of science and technology: Google’s driverless cars

Imagine going to work, reading the daily paper, enjoying a latte from Starbucks… All of this while behind the wheel. Sounds really dumb and dangerous, right? Well, by 2017, we may no longer have to focus on the road anymore. Driving may soon be obsolete.

Two years ago, the driverless cars were not able to handle urban city situations – jaywalkers, small children, bicyclists, the works – but are now on their way to being driving masters. Google’s driverless cars are already able to handle the highways and freeways with no problem, but it has been getting the tighter roads that has been the struggle. Project Director Chris Urmson wrote on his blog recently, “We’re growing more optimistic that we’re heading toward an achievable goal — a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention.” In all honesty, I think this is cool but also really, really dumb. Obviously I’m all for science and technology, hence the reason why I have a science and technology column, but I’m really over all of the technology that’s limiting human experience and actually

having to use common sense. I mean, I guess a lot of people don’t pay attention while driving nowadays anyway, but it’s something that, in actuality, is very serious. Operating a vehicle, if done irresponsibly, could take a life or seriously harm somebody. Do we really need to leave that up to a full computer system instead of just putting down our cellphones for half an hour during our commute?

The driverless cars of the future are said to be available to the public in 2017. As the owner and driver of the car, individuals would still have to be in the driver’s seat just in case anything went wrong with the software or electronics of the car so you could take over if need be. But what happens when we are all so enmeshed in what we are doing that we don’t realize that the system is failing? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I absolutely hate driving and just want to be able to relax, but when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t trust technology with my life. The computer’s got your back.” Google’s big pitch for the robot cars is that they’ll be able to drive better than humans are able to, and many traffic fatalities and accidents will be prevented. What I’m most worried about, though, are the one or two cars that crash and burn because something was faulty with the hardware or because something wasn’t updated on time. Maybe it’ll be great, maybe it’ll be awful. Only time will tell, and once 2017 hits, we can all sit back and relax and scroll through.