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.
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.”