When the robot uprising comes, Sebastian Thrun will be accused of sympathizing with the androids. The Google engineer and leader of its driverless car project believes that by replacing the follies and foibles of human driving, its computer-controlled cars could save a million lives every year.
Apocalypse jokes aside, Thrun, a professor of computer science at Stanford University, became dedicated to the concept of saving lives when he lost his best friend to a car accident when he was 18. He discussed the implications that driverless cars could have at TED Talks, the conference for new ideas. In addition to saving lives, Thrun said, transport would be far quicker and more efficient, with less fuel wasted and a complete elimination of traffic jams. Humans in the future “will look back at us and say how ridiculous it was that humans were driving cars.”
Google’s automated cars have so far covered 140,000 miles in a variety of driving conditions, with nary an accident. Click the jump to see a Toyota Prius navigate the mean streets of Anytown, USA, and just imagine how much more time we can spend texting on our cell phones once the robots take over our daily commute. I for one welcome our new robot overlords!