Remember when you first saw Back to the Future 2 and thought, “Dude, I cannot wait to drive my flying car to the hoverboard skatepark wearing my weird self-drying hologram-esque jacket and self-tying shoes!” Now that 2015 is in clear view (the year in which all these tech innovations were first seen in the movie), it seems less likely any of this is going to happen. (Editor’s note: How have we not developed the hoverboard yet? Really. Other than that fake hoverboard from a while back that duped a lot of the Internet.)
However, there is a new invention on the horizon that might be a step in the right direction, albeit slightly creepier. In a recent tweet from the overlord of the search engines, Google revealed plans to introduce the Google-powered driverless car to the automotive market.
Who knows if this is a hoax or not, but the first stories leaked seem pretty legit. According to the official Google blog, “[Google’s self-driving cars will] be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work.” Google goes on to state, “The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible—but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that’s an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”
Maybe these Google Cars could usher in a new state of safety on the road, putting an end to fatal car crashes and perhaps even dependency on foreign oil. Time will tell.
Watch the first-drive video from Google.
Google has plans to build out about a hundred prototype vehicles, and have plans to run a small pilot program in California in the next couple of years. “We’re going to learn a lot from this experience, and if the technology develops as we hope, we’ll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely,” opines Google.
Google is inviting anyone interested in following along on their new Google+ page dedicated to updates on this new endeavor: +GoogleSelfDrivingCars
What do you think? Would you like to see these Google Cars on the road?