Monday, October 11, 2010


 The following was in this morning's paper.  And while I realize that many of you may have seen the same article, I could not resist it.

Google tests cars that can steer without drivers
By DANIEL WAGNER AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON—Google Inc. is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver, the company says.

The goal is to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions" through ride sharing and "the new 'highway trains of tomorrow,'" project leader Sebastian Thrun wrote Saturday on Google's corporate blog.

The cars are never unmanned.  A backup driver is always behind the wheel to monitor the software.  The cars have traveled a total of 140,000 miles on major California roads without much human intervention, according to Google's corporate blog.  The Mountain View, Calif.-based technology giant has sent seven test cars a total of 1,000 miles without a human touching the controls at all, the New York Times reported. The newspaper published a report on the cars earlier Sunday.

The cars know speed limits, traffic patterns and road maps. They use video cameras, radar sensors and lasers to detect other cars.  Driving between Northern California and Southern California, the cars have navigated San Francisco's curvy Lombard Street, Los Angeles' Hollywood Boulevard and the cliff-hugging Pacific Coast Highway, the blog says.  Engineers consider the cars safer because they react more quickly than humans.

Fun -

Most businesses have credit card machines that automatically print “Thank you.  Please come again,” at the bottom of the receipt.  But one fellow asked a place where he did business if that could be taken off.  “Well, I suppose so,” he was told, “but why?”  “It just seems inappropriate,” said the customer.  “We’re a funeral home.”


  1. Note that this is the same company that drove a mapping van down my street and named it something else. Nothing can go wrong nothing can go wrong nothing can go wrong.

  2. Like at night when the satnav is wrong and there's a closed road near a ditch.... How boring it must be to monitor software (and hmm, are there deer in California?) One of the most amazing crash avoidance situations I was in was when a friend was driving me in MN and we were stopped on an icy highway. The car coming behind us was obviously going to skid into us (even at a slow speed) and my friend brilliantly put the car in gear and drove onto the median strip. That extra car length allowed the other car to stop without any bumpers being damaged. Sorry google, your software couldn't do that.

    Hey Don, why don't you take the scooter out for a spin and drop off my comment at company HQ.