Google’s Plan to Eliminate Human Driving Completely



In just 5 years time, Google projects that you will no longer be driving yourself around; your car will do all the work for you. Google’s cute self-driving car prototype will the road this summer. It has no steering wheel and no gas pedals, just a computer. But hey, this is not so super innovation. Autonomous driving technology has been around for quite some time. In the past few years, Google has used about 24 modified Lexus RX450h SUVs to drive nearly a million autonomous miles around Silicon Valley. They have allowed select employees to commute in self-driving cars on the highway every day. Over these million miles, the vehicles have seen only 11 accidents, none of them serious, and none of them caused by the autonomous driving computer.


Highway-driving has been pretty much mastered, while variables like pedestrians, intersections, and cyclists make for some complications. But Google expects to have a finished product by 2020, and they’re aren’t settling for anything less than a vehicle that drives itself 100% of the time. There’s is absolutely no human backup, so the car has to be able to handle every situation it encounters. Google calls these scenarios “the .001 percent of things that we need to be prepared for even if we’ve never seen them before in our real world driving.” Even if you’ve never even fathomed it (a horse flying out of the back of a truck, for example), your car has to be ready for it.

Then comes the question of insurance. The challenges extend far beyond simply perfecting the technology; they’ve got regulatory issues to deal with, including insurance questions and consumer acceptance. And obviously this varies greatly by state. Consumers do show a great interest in self-driving cars, but here’s the catch: You’ve got to trust it with your life.

And ultimately, as humans drive less and less, won’t we get worse at it? Doesn’t that make for a terrible backup plan?

About the Author: Elsie Sing'

Elsie is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her writing has appeared in a few university publications, under tables and on the sides of trains. She likes taking Polaroid pictures and planning rooftop picnics.