Google have bought some real cars but there are still a few snags to be ironed out
Ok, we've been pretty scathing about the Google driverless car project, basing our view on the prototype Wankermobile revealed amid much hype and even more ROTFLOAO among people who drive proper cars. The future of personal transport was going to look like the kind of toy car that might be found in a Kinder egg if the publicity could be believed.
Since then Google backed off the idea that they were going to build their own 'mobility-scooter-with-a-roof' type vehicles and bought some proper cars from real car manufacturers to convert into computer driven models.
And now they are claiming to be on the verge of putting the first commercially viable self-driving car on the road again. And again the Search Engine company are not being entirely truthful, there are many problems to be resolved before Google computer driven car can take to the roads, and some of them could prove insurmountable.
Google's latest driverless car abandones the Wankermobile prototype (see end of article) in favour of putting electronic natigation and control systems in read cars.
We'll leave aside the practicalities like the technology not working in bad weather or the fact that computers have no way of interpreting meaning therefore the cameras, microphones and sensors that react to stimuli cannot tell if a sound is a police or ambulance siren or a domestic burglar alarm going off, not can they tell whether a police officer is waving them to slow down or a grandma is waving to her family as they walk away from her door.
Even the most advanced prototypes, and those developed by Mercedes and Toyota are way ahead of Google, are having a hard time interpreting emergency sirens. If they are ever to be allowed onto real streets, autonomous cars will need to be able to respond appropriately to police instructions or the needs of emergency service.
Those things can easily be dealt however with providing the world is prepared to adapt in order to accommodate Google. From our point of view the real driverless car killer will be insurance. Because the driverless cars are not truly driverless but rather are driven by machines, who will be responsible in the event of an accident. because despite Google's claims that their technology is infallible and will eliminate accidents, there will still be accidents.
There will always be accidents, that is why car insurance is mandatory.
Quite how insurance would work when cars have no human in control remains unclear. The question of who pays out in the event of a crash involving a driverless car is still being debated and is seen as a major barrier to letting them loose on highways. Would the car maker, the component manufacturer or the owner of the data centre that was providing mapping information be liable. Or would the person sitting in the car be held legally responsible for it even though they were not in control. I can't manufacturers or computer operators taking responsibility and holding humans responsible for cars they are not driving is not going to be a selling point.
Several problems that will arise if these vehicles ever become popular spring to mind. Radar is increasingly being used on cars, eventually cross interference will render them navigation systems unreliable. Likewise a street full of Lidar units all spinning laser beams across each other will interfere. Several friends still involved in the industry have worked with Lidar type units and can tell you they don't work when its raining or foggy.
Then there is the problem of perception. While science fanboys (and girls) will continue to wax lyrical about a future in which we are all slaves to machines (or in their language free to do kewel things like spending fortunes playing computer games with in-app billing on our iPhones)the majority have a more down to earth view of technology's potential and limitations.
If recent surveys are to be believed, driverless car developers have failed at the first hurdle as it seems much of the public would be reluctant to ride in one of the cars. Half of Britons responded that they would be unwilling passengers in driverless cars over safety concerns, with 16 per cent professing to feel 'horrified' by the notion of unmanned vehicles driving on British roads. Four in ten would not trust an autonomous car to drive safely, believing it would jeopardise the welfare of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, a survey from price comparison site uSwitch.com found.
Just like the reality of Google Glass (recently withdrawn from the marketplace) - and almost all Google's other great ideas that launch to enormous fanfare and then slip away into oblivion, people love to believe in the 'Google Geeks' beavering away at solving the world's problems in amazingly innovative ways (One geek cited Google Maps as an example but maps have been around for several thousand years and Google were not the first to put them online,)the reality is that Google is a one-trick-pony and not a very good trick at that.It is a commercially successful search engine even if the results it produces are manipulation to deliver the most profitable links rather than the best quality information.
The real genius of Google is how it managed to monetise it's one trick - how much money it's managed to shake out of a world of consumers by telling them that the service is 'free' when it actually holds businesses to ransom by threatening deindex them if they don't cooperate. And of course, the costs of cooperating with Google are as always passed on to the consumer in the end.
These days Google sits on multi-billion dollar cash reserves generated by selling its shares to dupes rather than from trading profits. but with public outrage about the company's tax avoidance growing the directors worry about how to spend the money.
It is run by middle class white men who are obsessed with delivering solutions for which problems must be invented and that nobody other than geeks could give a flying fuck about.
This automated car is just another step in the direction of the one speed society - where everyone is dragged down to the level of the lowest common denominator, everyone holds the opinion of the stupidest and most sheep like and we all do as we are told.
Oh dear. What have I done, badmouthing Google, one of the Geek tribe's sacred cows? If The Daily Stirrer allowed comments, brainwashed trolls would be fighting each other to leave angry, rude, nonsensical abuse for anyone who refuses we will all be much happier when we surrender our individuality and let Google do our thinking for us.O
r as Google chairman Eric Schmidt put it: "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."
The Daily Stirrer is happy to tell Eric what he should do next: "Eric mate, fuck the fucking fuck off."RELATED POSTS:
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The wankermobile - Google's prototype driverless car, now replaced by real cars to save the corporate image (source).