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Google’s Self-driving Car: Hailey Crowell

We’ve always said that self-driving cars are the future, but nobody knew the future would come so soon.  Google has been working on a self-driven car since 2009, and finally released a prototype in 2014.  As of 2016, they currently have functional prototypes (ex. 1), which has been tested by average people, and the team that built and worked with the car.  The size and shape of the car is significant because it maximizes the sensor’s field of view.  By now you’re probably wondering how it works.  Well, the car runs on electric batteries, and uses its sensors and software to sense objects like pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, and safely drive around them. The sensors are located on top of the car, similar to what a siren on a police cruiser. The sensors help detect what’s around the car, while the software classifies objects based on their size, shape, and movement pattern. The software also predicts what all the objects around us might do, and the car then chooses a safe speed and trajectory. The car can even identify signs for construction, railroad crossings, or when a cyclist uses a hand signal.  Overall, the computer within the car directs it. The cars are being tested in Austin, Texas; and Mountain View, California. Google is currently seeking engineers for the development and testing of the systems. However, Google would like to note that it envisions creating the systems, and then partnering with an automaker for the actual car when it continues on to mass production.

google (ex. 1)

Business and technology go hand in hand. Business has influenced technology, and technology has influenced business. Technology plays a huge role in business by making products or aspects of products easier, smarter, and more advanced. It also allows businesses to become easily accessible in other countries by incorporating the internet. Technology has morphed the world we live in today. Without it, our world would seem be incomplete. Still, with technology comes problems, just like anything else in this world. Protection of privacy is an important value of society, and there has been many cases of personal information getting out from sources on the internet. Everything that a company does socially, environmentally, politically, anything, reflects the well-being of the company and whether they have the support of people, the planet, and profit.

I think the Google self-driving car will be very beneficial technology for people who are blind, have a disability, want more time with their kids, or just don’t want to drive. This has always been a futuristic thing, so to see it coming through is a crazy phenomenon. So crazy, that Apple and Tesla Motors are rumored to be creating their own self-driving cars, and yet, there are still so many questions for Google’s self-driving car: When will it be ready? How do the sensors work in rain, snow, or any kind of weather? When will the batteries run out, and how will we charge them? How do we know the system won’t crash on us? How much will it cost? Is this really safe? The questions could go on forever, but for right now, Google has done what was deemed impossible and futuristic.



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