It’s been called “The Talk” – the moment when your kids look at you apologetically and, in retribution for all the times you grounded them, tell you they’re taking your car keys. For your own good.
The Talk is the iconic moment of senior infantalization, and soon it could be a thing of the past.
Ever since Google started experimenting with the idea of the self-driving, or driverless car, people have been thinking about what it will mean for seniors and our independence as we age. So it’s not surprising that when the tech giant quietly unveiled a prototype last week – the event was reported on its blog – in the small group of people whom Google invited to give it a first spin were several older folk.
Watch the video to get their reactions.
The car, a simple bubble on wheels, has no steering wheel, brakes or accelerator – just buttons to start and stop and a screen that shows the route. According to Google, “Our automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead.”
Google says its cars’ sensors can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions. For now, speed is capped at 25 mph.
The company plans to build 100 prototype vehicles. In a couple of months, serious testing will start and “if all goes well,” a small pilot program will start in California in the next couple of years.
Hang in there!
You can get updates by connecting to Google’s Google+ page for driverless cars.
What do you think – would you “drive” a driverless car? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.