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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Transportation ")

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard! This is not just a test track, or a scale model. This is the real deal.

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941

Calling Google's RoboTaxi
'The taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings...'- Allan Dean Foster, 2006.

Hyperloop Transport Proposed By Tesla's Elon Musk
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... of such dimensions as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'- George Medhurst, 1812.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard!

Brain flight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'

Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'

ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'

Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'

Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'

FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'

The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'

GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.

Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'

Autonomous Car Outperforms Professional Race Driver
Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!'

Vint Cerf's 'Digital Dark Age' Vs. George Orwell's
'You could never consult Archival Records in a straightforward manner.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.