Self-driving Cars by 2020, Former GM Exec Says

Self-driving cars aren’t new, but if electric vehicles’ slow adoption rates among U.S. consumers are any measure of new technology acceptance then autonomous cars can’t be close at hand, or can they?

According to a speech given by Larry Burns, former General Motors research and development head, we can expect such technology by 2020. Unless you’ve been ignoring auto news, that sentence might seem strange. We already have cars that drive themselves, even to Taco Bell drive-through windows, courtesy of Google.

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Google Self-Driving Car Chauffeurs Legally Blind Man – Video

What’s the real benefit to autonomous cars? To be able to eat your Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch while it drives you to your destination of course.

In all seriousness, Google’s self-driving car just did its biggest and best promotional video yet. The autonomous Toyota Prius shuttled around Steve Mahan, a legally blind man, through a day of errands.

Google’s self-driving Prius has completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led travel and one of their favorite moments was a carefully programmed route for Steve Mahan to show off the benefits of autonomous vehicles. While this was mostly a technical experiment in Google’s eyes, we believe it opens up the rest of the world’s eyes on just how beneficial the technology could be if safety standards could be met.

Without ever touching the pedals or steering wheel, the legally blind Steve Mahan got to enjoy some Taco Bell drive-through and was able to pick up his dry cleaning, something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own having lost 95 percent of his vision. Steve Mahan was also labeled as self-driving car user #0000000001 by Google.

According to the end of the video, it was created with the assistance of the Morgan Hill Police Department and the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center in San Jose, California.

While its a good thing for the blind, the world had better be careful. If this goes too far, steering might be considered exercise.

Check out the video of Steve Mahan driven around after the break.

[Source: CNet]

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