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Driving Blind: Taking Google’s Self-Driving Car for a Spin

by on March 29, 2012

We’ve been hearing about self-driving cars forever, but it’s only when seeing one in action that the enormity of the technological achievement sinks in. Google has been testing these things for the last couple of years, and they’ve released this video of Steve Mahan taking one of Google’s self-driving Priuses out for a few errands, including the drive-thru at a taco shop, which is amazing enough as it is but is moreso because Steve happens to be visually impaired — 95% of his vision is gone. He talks about how losing one’s sight takes away independence and something like this can bring a lot of that back. That’s huge.

In this trial, he wasn’t alone — he had people in the car with him using laptops to operate the thing — but we’re getting closer and closer to something like this being available. Before then, there are obviously a lot of issues to work out, including safety, and the technology isn’t exactly off-the-shelf yet. But this is further along than you might expect.

HT: Popular Science