Will Google drive you Home?


An automated car or self-driving car is a one that is able to sense the environment and ride without the need of a human interference. This phenomenon has been tested all early in 19’s, but the first fully automated car was presented in 1950’s by the RCA laboratories. For some years already many companies like Mercedes, BMW and Volvo were testing the possibility to make this a commercially new production line. Now, years later the only thing we have are some cars with some automated features, for example Mercedes and Volvo that have some cars with features like self parking, brake automatically to avoid hitting  and keeping the same speed as the car in front of you. BUT after all this stuff the only legal “full automated” car now in 2014 in the Netherlands are still the Park Shuttles. (Maybe you already took a drive into one by the metro Kralingse Zoom).

parkshuttles rotterdam

I want to emphasis that after years of testing companies still didn’t get the opportunity and trust to make them commercially available.  Nissan goal is to introduce their self-driving car by 2020. Some state in the US (i.e. Nevada, California) already legalized the used of these cars. At this moment my main questions are:  Will we be ready for them by 2020? Are we mentally prepared for self-driving cars in our lives?

It’s a fact that Google is really busy in the process of making a line of those cars commercially available. Google has been developing their Self driving car for some years, but didn’t give and still doesn’t want to give allot of information to the public. One thing is sure they are building and testing the car themselves.

We already know that Google has the potential to combine IT and Technology and create a bright future; in this case it can be that Car.  But do you think these Google car will be trusty? This question is related to the fact that Google is focusing on building the entire car instead of just the software. Do you think Google is able to change the mindset of the people and make the self driving car a disruptive technology?

Personally I would love the idea of this car. Not only the benefits that it may give the population, like less accidents and less traffic jams., but for me it will also be a great social benefit like, eating when I am on my way or just sit and chill on my tablet. Or when I am out with my friends I can drink some extra beers without any worries. I tested the Shuttles by Kralingse Zoom and enjoyed the ride. Maybe with the Google cars it would be a little different, because the cars will have to deal with many other objects and vehicles, and most people will be nervous but I think it will be a matter of getting used to it. On the other side I think it would be nothing for some people, because there are allot of people who see their car as a status or a symbol, for example showing my friends off how good I can drive.

Another possible drawback could be that other parties like auto parts brands or insurance company could take advantage of the uncertainties of the people and raise their premiums, with the result that the total costs of the car would be too expensive. Early this year made “Centraal Beheer” one commercial regarding this topic. This may showed us already in some way how some insurance companies are preparing or thinks of the topic.

Now I want to ask you:  What do you readers think? Is Google trying to help us, by making our live easier? Or is it just marketing and a good boost for the Google maps? Would you buy or take a ride into one of those cars?

References

http://www.marketingboeken.net/reclameklassieker/self-driving-car-van-centraal-beheer/

http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/18/4341656/mercedes-benz-shows-off-self-driving-car-technology

http://connectedcities.eu/showcases/parkshuttle.html

http://www.google.com/about/careers/lifeatgoogle/self-driving-car-test-steve-mahan.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27587558

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2 responses to “Will Google drive you Home?”

  1. 374633rb says :

    Hello fellow student,

    quite an interesting topic I must say. As you mentioned there are some pro’s and con’s regarding this new technique. My comment will be structured in the same way you set up your blog.

    Your first question concerns the humans readiness for the (in this case) Nissan self-driving car in 2020. Well I think that we will not be ready for the self-driving car in 2020 because it takes time to get used to such a concept, obviously we all know the ‘self-driving car’ concept but we have never experienced it; in the sense that we have never seen one on a public road. , that is when the real realization/adoption begins. Just as the bystanders in the Achmea commercial; the first couple of times you see a sell-driving car in public you will probably be stunned and it is not until that moment that you will realize/adopt the existence of self-driving cars. Keep in mind that it is almost 2015; Nissan should make some huge progress in finalizing the concept before 2020, therewith giving people the chance to adopt and accept the concept. So maybe the technique itself will be ‘ready’ by 2020 but I can hardly imagine humans will.

    Secondly, your question on the trustworthiness of Google developing its own car; I really don’t understand why Google is doing this by their selves, well I can come up with a few reasons but I can hardly imagine these objectives will be any good for the eventual car quality. I really believe in doing what you are good at, so why –as Google- not collaborate with Mercedes or Volvo (for car quality) and just limit yourself in providing the software?

    Which takes us to the final insight; I would definitely want to take a ride in a self-driving car; no matter if it is says Volvo or Google on the ‘hood’, but buying one is out of my ballpark. As you mentioned, some people see cars as a symbol or as an object of status, in this case I am ‘some people’. It is very hard for me to believe that I would voluntarily choose/buy a self-driving car over a traditional one; I just cannot imagine myself being in a car without a steering wheel and not having direct ‘control’ over the device.

  2. yswdejong says :

    Thank you for the post!

    I personally think that it truly is Google’s goal to launch a self-driving car, but I’m not sure whether they’re going to build it themselves. Traditionally Google has never been a hardware manufacturing company and this leads me to believe that they will try to sell their software platform and patents to car manufacturers, who in the end will actually make the self-driving car. Google is still an advertising company, and if they succeed in becoming the number one self-driving car platform (or the standard solution) Google can not only use the data generated from all these self-driving cars for themselves or sale, but also use the platform to push more advertising.

    There are however some applications of self-driving cars that are commercially available for sale already. The Mercedes S-class car can drive completely autonomous up onto 40 Kph.

    http://www5.mercedes-benz.com/en/vehicles/passenger-cars/s-class/

    I think the self-driving car, in combination with smarter roads (roads that directly charge an electric car driving on top of it and that have knowledge about traffic) will become more prevalent in the not too distant future. Urbanization and congestion will ensure an increase in demand for this kind of transportation.

    http://www.solaroad.nl/

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