Google chair calls for automated vehicle adoption

Wants to put an end to drunk driving once and for all

13 Jul 2012
Google self-driving car

Google's Eric Schmidt, executive chair at the advertising firm, has indicated that he believes self-driving cars - as his company is developing - should become the predominant form of transportation for the majority of the populace.

Currently under public road testing in the US, Google's self-driving car project is an extension of its Google Maps and Google Navigation service. Equipped with sensors, scanners and GPS, the vehicles are able to find their own ways from A to B without driver intervention - and, despite thousands of hours of testing, have yet to be involved in a collision while under computer control.

Speaking at the Google annual press talk, as reported by TechCrunch, Schmidt espoused the benefits of automated transportation and all-but declared the manually-operated motor vehicle dead - just as soon as his company can work out the final few bugs in the system, that is.

Asked what problems faced the development of automated transportation, Schmidt joked that "the current biggest problem is that it runs at the speed limit and nobody drives at the speed limit", before admitting that the designs were not production-ready. Despite this, Schmidt claims to have received interest from major vehicle manufacturers.

Asked how likely it was for drivers to voluntarily give up control of their vehicles, Schmidt reminded the audience that 35,000 people are killed in drink-driving incidents in the US alone each year. "It's a terrible tragedy. The sooner we can get cars to drive for us the more lives we can [...] self-driving cars should become the predominant mode of transportation in our lifetime."

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