Self Driving Cars: They’re on Their Way
So it looks like self-driving cars (or as experts like to call them “smart phones on wheels”) may be closer to being a reality than previously expected. Apparently Google has already unleashed its first fleet of fully automated vehicles on the streets of Austin, Texas and Mountain View, California. The cars have reportedly driven 1.16 million miles without the assistance of a human driver.
There have been 16 incidents where Google’s self-driving cars have gotten into fender-benders with other drivers, but Google confidently claims that all 16 instances were due to the carelessness of human drivers, not their automated car technology. Statistically speaking Google’s automated cars are actually far less likely to get into an accident than human drivers.
Although Google has been testing the idea of self-driving cars since 2009, they have seemingly been devoting much more attention to the idea recently – appointing a CEO to the self-driving car project, rapidly hiring new staff, test driving their cars in different geographies, and even hinting at a possible intention to turn the project into an independent company. One of the most likely reasons for this sudden upscale in budget could be due to the fact that almost every major auto manufacturer is also testing self-driving cars, with dealers such as Mercedes and Audi having already showcased their automated vehicles over the years at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.
Some experts predict a huge competition, with the primary competitors being Google, Apple, and the car industry. Seeing as BMW and Audi are prepared to pay 2.5 billion euros for Nokia’s navigation service they may not be far off.
A quick search in Google news proves that the idea has been gaining quite a bit of traction recently, with some investors claiming for it to be the investment opportunity of the decade.