Watch Out, Cars Without Drivers Are Headed Down a Road Near You

inside a car on a nevada roadBeing that we're only three years out from "the future" depicted in Back to the Future II, some of us want to know where our Hoverboards, self-drying jackets, and most importantly, flying DeLoreans are? It seems unlikely that we'll see any of those products before 2015, but there's one consolation: We're getting closer to having cars that drive themselves.

Believe it or not, Google and GM are both testing self-driving cars as we speak! Google's got its hands on a self-driving Toyota Prius (of course!), which uses radar functionality, sensors, and computers to map the terrain, allowing it to drive on autopilot. Google is currently testing a self-driving Toyota Prius. It uses radar functionality, sensors, and computers to map the terrain, allowing it to drive on autopilot. And Nevada wants to be the first state to embrace this technology. It recently became the first state to create regulations for companies interested in testing self-driven cars on public roads.

Wild, huh?


Looking at the technology we use today and how crazy it may have looked even seven years ago, I guess a self-driven car isn't so wacky a concept. But there are still a lot of questions to be answered about their safety. Thankfully, Nevada's put regulations in place that require that people operating the test vehicles need to have a special license and the cars have to contain a "black box," which collects data. Also, during test drives, two passengers will always be in the car, in case one needs to override the controls. Whew! Wouldn't want a HAL 9000 situation on our hands now, would we?

But considering about how much power technology already has over us and how lazy it tends to make us, I'm not sure we should be jumping up and down for and into self-driven cars. Seems like they might open the flood gates for a lot of irresponsibility behind the wheel -- first thing that comes to mind is texting! Also, doesn't everyday driving require using human intuition and intellect (or at least it should!)? I'm not sure I see how a car on autopilot could replicate that every time it hits the road. 

As cool as it would be to usher in something as "futuristic" as a robotic car, not sure it's a wise step for mankind.

How do you feel about the idea of a self-driven car? Would you ever want to own one?


Image via Foto Motto/Flickr

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