Google Shows Off its Self-Driving Car

Dennis Faas's picture

For those who despise the morning automobile commute, take heart: Google has been developing a self-driving car that can let you kick back and relax while your vehicle takes care of getting you safely and quickly to your destination.

In a recent video posted to the web, Google shows its self-driving car carrying a legally blind man around the block. And it works.

Google's program to develop such a car has been going on for several years. Now, the company has unveiled an iteration of its self-driving car that is capturing the imagination of technology fans around the world.

Self-Driving Car Offers Life-Changing Capability To Many

Google's video, first posted on the company's fledgling social networking platform, Google+ (it can be seen by clicking here), shows Mahan calmly going for an automated ride to the local Taco Bell and a nearby dry cleaner.

"Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things," said Steve Mahan, who is 95 per cent blind and cannot legally pilot a vehicle.

Look, Ma, no hands," Mahan proudly proclaims in the video. "No hands, no feet." (Source:

In Google's special car, his handicap no longer limits his ability to get from place to place. The car "driven" by Mahan uses a combination of lasers, radar sensors, and video cameras to safely navigate a city street or highway.

This version of the self-driving car is a fascinating step forward for a project that has been in development since 2010.

Much Testing Still to Come

As amazing as it now appears to be, the 'self-driving' technology still isn't quite ready for prime time.

In a recent statement, Google said: "There's much left to design and test, but we've now safely completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, gathering great experiences and an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters."

Even so, it does appear that self-driving vehicles are actually on the horizon. Certainly the State of Nevada thinks so. According to web blog PCMag, it recently legalized the technology.

The people most excited about this cutting-edge tech are those who are blind or with severely limited sight. "The concept of it is pretty awesome," said Eric Bridges, a director for the American Council of the Blind.

"There are a lot of hoops that are going to need to be jumped through in the years to come: Things like driver's licenses and regulatory stuff to allow these vehicles to traverse roadways. But the technology is absolutely intriguing." (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet