Steve Mahan is clinically blind, having lost 95 percent of his vision over the course of several years. But on a sunny day in the Bay Area, the Google crew arrived to shuttle him around, running errands like the rest of us and making a trip through the Taco Bell drive-through.
It’s one of the most compelling cases for driverless cars.
Steve’s freedom could be regained when autonomous vehicles make it to the mainstream, enabling other visually-challenged denizens to enjoy the freedoms most of us take for granted.
As we highlighted in last month’s cover issue, the age of the autonomous car is coming up quickly, with Google, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors all working on new, innovative ways of making the driverless car a reality.
Still, there’s more to this video than Google’s brief YouTube description conveys.
To begin with, the legal hurdles of self-driving cars are numerous and varied. While Nevada has enacted legislation to allow the testing of driverless vehicles on public roads, there are still a myriad of legislative challenges ahead, ranging from how many occupants have to be in the vehicle to who’s at fault if a collision occurs.
Partner that with the fact that destinations have to be pre-programmed and the waters get even murkier, although Google concedes that Mahan’s ride was “a carefully programmed route.”
But even with all that in mind, after watching Steve’s simple journey for a bad burrito, how can you not get behind a technology that enables one of the most quintessentially American freedoms?
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/