Google, the pioneering company that empowers millions of corporate workers to not remember anything, has been trying to extend its “let us think about it for you with our algorithms” ethos to cars. And Nevada just handed over permission to Google to test its non-think technology on the state’s long, hot, dusty roads.
So far Google has equipped eight vehicles (six Toyota Prius, an Audi TT and a Lexus RX450h) with the driverless technology. The technology combines artificial intelligence software, a global positioning system and an array of sensors to prevent you from doing exactly what you bought your car to do: drive!
Drivers, provided they are behind the wheel, aren’t completely at the whims of the vehicle, though. All the “human” driver needs to do in order to wrest control back from the machine is tap the brake or turn the steering wheel, and he or she is back in command.
(I wonder exactly when, in Google’s headquarters, someone said…”it’s like the engine’s always running but no one’s behind the wheel”…leading to the “aha” moment of “holy sh*t, we might be able to do that.”)
Nevada is giving out special license plates with a red background and an infinity symbol on the left-hand side for the cars.
The state has also included one quintessentially Las Vegas condition to riding around in these driverless cars; in order for the testing to be legal, the state requires one person behind the wheel and another in the passenger seat at all times.
How is this quintessential to Las Vegas? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…and what happens in driverless cars stays in driverless cars.
Don’t think past CarWoo! if you need a new car.