Cars Coming Soon: Volvo’s “Crash Proof” Car

Volvo's crash-proof car?

Volvo’s head of government affairs, Anders Eugensson, thinks cars should be more like horses: incapable of crashing into stuff.

Eugensson said,

The car of the future will be just like the farmer’s horse. The farmer can steer the horse and carriage but if he falls asleep the horse can still take him back home…. And if the farmer tries to steer the carriage against a tree or off a cliff, the horse will refuse.

Seems like logical inspiration for a car, right? Lots of farmers I know fall asleep in their carriages after trying to steer them off cliffs. Hmmm, maybe it’s a Swedish thing.

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More on Driverless Car Craziness

Back in August, we gave you our take on the pros and cons of driverless cars. Among other smart things we said: “The big issue for a lot of people is losing control. It’s a bit like the drunk who won’t give up the keys to his car.”

The U.S. seems to be in the grip of a widespread fear of losing control—over everything from bladders to jobs. The individual has always been sovereign in this country, and who of our readers would give over the power and command of driving a car? Is technology taking over every aspect of our free choice?

Still, autonomous cars (so-called) are probably inevitable, at least in some situations. Many futurists are already happily jumping on board. Popular Science loves this stuff and recently came up with a story about cars dropping off their drivers, then going to search for parking spaces on their own.

Just thinking about the wild scenarios that could result, one of the the story’s commenters (D13) came up with the following: Continue reading >>>

Google Wants 1 Million Driverless Miles

Inside a driverless car

Remember when Google was just a search engine?

I still remember the first time I saw the Google homepage. It was in 2001, and I worked at an ad agency. One of the hip designers had the sparse, mystifying, cryptic page constantly displayed on one of his Power Mac monitors. I looked at that page and wondered what it was. I wondered what would happen if I were to click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

I’d never seen a website so devoid of content and wondered if I’d be able to use it, if I was even allowed to, or if it was just for people who had been given specific instructions on how to operate the instruction-less web tool.

Then I got brave and searched my first Google search. I didn’t click “I’m Feeling Lucky,” because I wasn’t, plus I didn’t know what would happen if I did.

It all seems so silly now, especially since all of humanity “Googles” things nearly as often as we take a breath. (Have you tried the “Chuck Norris” I’m Feeling Lucky search? Funny stuff.)

My point is, Google was the coolest, most useful website ever created. But that was before Google got too big and earned more money that it knows what to do with. Now, Google is meddling in things it shouldn’t be messing with. Smart phones are one, I think. The other is driving.

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Driverless Cars: Encouraging Drinking and Driving?

Google driverless car

Today we learn that a driverless car in China drove 175 miles on a packed expressway without GPS, depending instead on video cameras and radar sensors. Nevada recently passed legislation to legalize self-driving cars—after standards for performance, licensing, etc. are set.

Some car blogs have had a lot of fun reporting that Google’s driverless Prius (above) had its first crash. The company stated that a human driver was at the controls, but this raised the issue of who is at fault when an “autonomous vehicle” crashes. Jalopnik did raise the issue of fault and legal responsibility, and it’s a big one.

They also said :

The biggest battle in auto safety today involves keeping drivers focused on driving. Google’s self-driving car seems like the ultimate distracted driving machine.

When and however they come, driverless cars will give us the benefits of fewer accidents and deaths, less gasoline use and more free time for passengers to play video games, watch mindless movies or get drunk in the car.

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