Calling Google's RoboTaxi
Google appears to be designing its own self-driving car. Not surprisingly, the major automakers declined to cut their own throats by participating.
People familiar with Google’s project say the company doesn’t believe most of the major auto brands actually want to build a fully autonomous car.
Some auto executives including Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler AG, owner of Mercedes Benz, have said as much. At an event earlier this summer, Zetsche reportedly said that his company wants to automate the boring elements of driving, such as being stuck in traffic, but would “never automate the cool part of driving.”
Ah, the "cool part of driving". I'm trying to decide which part of my recent driving experiences are the "cool part". Making the same repetitive trips to the same stores and malls? The eight-hour drives on toll roads on my vacation to the east coast?
Anyway, one of the most exciting aspects to Google's efforts is the intent to develop robo-taxi systems, which make a lot of sense given the high probable cost of a fully autonomous car. Why buy when you can rent car services? Especially when the car just appears when you need it?
One idea Google has been studying is how its vehicles could become part of robo-taxi systems in which a fleet of self-driving cars would pick up passengers and work commuters on demand, according to people familiar with the matter. Google believes that such systems could potentially reduce the need for people to own cars and reduce accidents.
Last year Google considered possible U.S. cities where it could help launch such a robo-taxi service, said one of the people familiar with its plans. Such an approach would be similar to Google’s Fiber project, in which it is beginning to install high-speed Internet and cable service to residents in the Kansas City area to pressure telecom industry incumbents to boost Web speeds.
Science fiction writers have pioneered thinking about robotic taxi systems. For example, consider Larry Niven's bubble cars from World out of Time (1976) or the tin cabbie from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight. And don't forget the autocab from Robert Heinlein's 1951 novel Between Planets.
A more recent take on the robot taxi idea can be found in Alan Dean Foster's 2006 novel Sagramanda; see the automated taxi:
...he urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster? I'm already running late."
Since the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings, the traditional forward windshield existed only to allow fares to see where they were going. The vehicle was as aware of this as its passenger.
"As you can see, sir, this is a very busy street, and I am forbidden by law and by coding from forcing a path..."
All were equipped with the same city-regulated programming.
Via Jessica Lessin.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/23/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
Solowheel Xtreme Heinlein Tumblebug Video
'The cadets 'stood to horse' alongside their poised tumblebugs...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.
WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.' - Larry Niven, 1978.
Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either. An amazing technical feat.
Self-Driving Truck Corridor From Manitoba To Mexico?
This might be the safer idea...
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
3 Parent Embryos Approved By Bioethicists
' A tkan merely courts a mlenb and is attracted to a good guur...'
DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'
Tired Of Speeders On Your Block? DIY Speed Tracker!
'There is no danger of a vehicle's speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be...'
Centriphone Whirling Selfie Camera
''Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me,' he told it...'
Eagles Vs. Drones
'Moon bird's view was... partly blocked by the pyramid, so that he did not see the bird-things dark against the brilliant sky...'
SCiO Scanner Wants You To Be Spock
Almost as easy as a tricorder?
Self-Adapting Composite Heals Itself
'...Could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.'
Rigid Clothing, Or Wearable Furniture?
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...'
Swarming Intelligent Aquatic Surface Robots Ahoy!
'A remote-controlled emulsion, as it were, with uniform center...'
SuitX Cheap Medical Exoskeleton
'... standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'
Harvesting Energy From Internal Resonance
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'
Sticker Harvests Energy From Your Skin
Another way to harvest power from the body.
Twitter Sarcasm Detected By Computer
Myo-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
'Sensitive actuators touch the tendons in your right wrist.'
Self-Driving Trucks For Netherlands' Ports
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
Apple Ring: Finally, Engineers Want To Make My Finger Watch
'Crayn glanced at his finger watch...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories