If you're like me, your first reaction to the concept of a blind man riding in a self-driving car (to Taco Bell) was probably ... bemused alarm, let's say. Like: "Whoa, cool! Hey, wait a minute ... a blind guy going on a taco run in a self-driving car? This can't possibly end well."
But that's the thing -- it does end well. Really! Because believe it or not, we actually have the technology to make this kind of thing happen now ... it's just really, really expensive. Which is sad, because I bet there are lots of other white-haired, legally-blind guys like Steven Mahan who could go for a taco right about now.
Google's driverless car (a Prius) relies on a laser-range finder, which it uses to map out surroundings and respond to GPS signals. The laser-range finder alone runs about $70K -- that's without the cost of the actual vehicle. Dang.
Does it frustrate the daylights out of anyone else that such life-changing technology is available -- but most people can't afford it?
It kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games. (Which might seem like a stretch, but hang on a second.) More specifically, it reminds me of a comment my 10-year-old daughter made when we saw the dystopian society fantasy flick.
It was during the scene when Katniss and Peeta pull into the Capitol on that super-fast train thing. My daughter turned to me and said, "It's so crazy how where Katniss lives the people don't even have like washing machines, and the whole time there's this city that's really high-tech and stuff."
How different is the real world? Not very. On the one hand we have cars that can drive themselves; on the other, we have kids living in slums under roofs made of cardboard and scrap metal. Indoor plumbing? Yeah, right.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for the blind guy with the Google car. (He's heartbreakingly adorable, as you'll see in this clip.)
I just wish there were more of them.
Does it bother you that the most amazing technological advances are available to so few people?
Image via Google/YouTube