By Brooke Shearin
Google is proving itself as one of the top businesses in the United States once again – this time by putting their popularly used Google Maps to the ultimate accuracy test creating and utilizing the world’s first “autonomous cars,” or self-driving vehicles.
As of now, Google has tested the previously believed science fiction technology on approximately 10 cars including the Toyota Prius, the Audi TT and the Lexus RX450h.
Google reported that in the first 300,000 miles its cars had not had a single crash– an accident later was reported by one of Google’s test cars due to human error as the tester was driving the car off “autopilot.”
Melanie Walker, a junior at William Peace said, “I don’t know if I could trust this new technology. I would have to certainly wait a few years before I could trust the maps to be one hundred percent effective and safe.”
Although there is obviously plenty of skepticism among the consumer body, this success has proved rewarding for the company. California and Nevada recently enacted laws legalizing this new advancement in mid-2012, along with banning laws regarding texting for those behind the wheel in these cars.
It certainly will be interesting as this year’s upcoming CES 2013 (The International Consumer Electronics Show) reveals both Audi and Lexus models which are rumored to contain the technology already built in to the cars for ready use.
Senior Elizabeth Burns said, “I enjoy having control of the wheel and like to drive. I understand that autonomous cars definitely have a place in the future, but until then I’m going to embrace the freedom I have until it’s no longer practical.”
Ultimately, both arguments for the safety of the drivers versus fear of losing control of the vehicle are both understandable. It is an inescapable fact that accidents or even death can occur every time we get behind the wheel, and to limit or eliminate this terrible possibility is a superb high-tech advancement we are capable of creating.
However, we must ask ourselves and our society if technology is advancing too quickly? Are we ready for robots to control such a conventional facet of our everyday lives?