In a story published in 1953 entitled “Nobody Here But…”, the Good Doctor Asimov wrote,
“We were especially interested in the automobile angle. Suppose you had a little thinking machine on the dashboard, hooked to the engine and battery and equipped with photoelectric eyes. It could choose an ideal course, avoid cars, stop at red lights, pick the optimum speed for the terrain. Everybody could sit in the back seat and automobile accidents would vanish.”
They promised us flying cars, too,
but this idea looks like it’s going to happen a lot sooner.
The Google driverless car is a reality. Watch Steve Mahan, a blind individual, get taken to Taco Bell. These cars have now driven over 500,000 miles without a serious accident when the car itself was in control. While the technology is not yet perfect, it does not need to be; as long as the driverless car reduces accidents – in other words, if it’s better than human drivers – there is no reason why industry, including the insurance companies should not get on board. It will save lives, and reduce insurance costs dramatically.
That’s not to say that the technology is easy to develop:
Google’s engineers are dealing with problems like this increased by an order of magnitude. But based on results, they are doing it.
Right now, the technology costs about $75,000 to $85,000 per vehicle, more than the car itself. But I fully expect that my grandchildren will be able to make full use of this technology, long before flying cars are ever – if ever – practical. And the Good Doctor Asimov would be proud.
The Old Wolf has spoken.