google driverless car

Some people like to clean, they find it cathartic. I am not one of these people. In addition, rather than enduring curiously named winter storms I “winter” in Antigua, Guatemala where I can enjoy 78 degree (F) days.

It doesn’t require an advance degree in economics to calculate the opportunity cost. I, quite simply, would lose money doing something I don’t enjoy. Driving, on the other hand is a different story.

I’m from the United States, and was born into a car culture. On occasion, I genuinely enjoy driving. That said, there have been countless occasions in my life where I would happily give up this control in order to accomplish more than just the safe arrival at my destination. Once again, a simple calculation of opportunity cost.

A twisting California coastline behind the wheel of a convertible sounds great; however being stuck in Los Angeles traffic, I would rather be free to finish some work as someone or, in this case something, hastened me to my destination. Hence, the self-driving car.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s work in this field is directly linked to a corporate culture that encourages their employees to work outside of their job and responsibilities.

According to Bloomberg, Anthony Levandowski, the product manager for Google’s driverless car technology, told a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) meeting recently that, “we expect to release the technology in the next five years,” while adding that “in what form it gets released is still to be determined.”

That’s not going to happen.

“The improvement can be such that we can make cars that drive safer than people do,” Anthony Levandowski, product manager for Google’s self-driving car technology, told a Society of Automotive Engineers meeting in Washington last week. “I can’t tell you you’ll be able to have a Google car in your garage next year. We expect to release the technology in the next five years. In what form it gets released is still to be determined.”

I believe this might be the case, but is he suggesting a driver-less F1 Car could win a Grand Prix? I would take technology over a 16 year old most days. I would take a driver-less car over a texting driver any day.

The problem with this “three to five years” is simple. Government, and insurance companies. Take a look look at the following quotes if you doubt it for a minute:

Dan Smith, associate administrator for vehicle safety at the NHTSA, said during the SAE meeting that it will be, “a massive challenge to figure out how will the government come up with a performance standard that is objective and testable for so many different scenarios where failure could possibly occur.”

Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute industry group, had this to say at the same meeting, “Right behind the first autonomous vehicle is the first autonomous vehicle ambulance chaser,” he said. “They will be there faster than you can imagine looking for any sort of accident that might be attributable to a deep pocket.”

And finally this from the author of this piece, “Yes officer I am drunk, but I am NOT driving.”


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