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Detroit Bureau: Google engineering head gives self-driving car predictions

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Market Trends | Technology

Google’s engineering head talked self-driving cars Wednesday, providing the Society of Automotive Engineers with insight from the company who put them on the map, the Detroit Bureau reported.

Artificial intelligence expert Ray Kurzweil said that while “Google advised me to share with you they don’t know the answer” when autonomous cars will be in play, but reminded that computer power and computing buying power grow exponentially, according to the Bureau.

(Remember the common observation, seen here in Computer Weekly, that the Apollo spacecraft’s computing power wasn’t any better than the cheap calculators booths give out at a trade show.)


More RDN self-driving car coverage


Kurzweil said autonomous vehicles won’t appear until they’re safe — (what else was he going to say?) — but “the technology works. It’s not far away,” according to the auto news website.

The Detroit Bureau also reported a very striking point Kurzweil made about safety, one that really does put the questions about the technology into perspective:

“Google cars have gone close to a million miles without incident. Some day an autonomous car will cause an accident and it will be big news. But while we’ve been talking several people have died from human drivers. (Autonomous cars) are ultimately going to save millions of lives.”

Obviously, self-driving cars will affect collision repair in some fashion, though how much of a trip will be actually autonomous is up for debate. Right now, the sentiment seems to be that gridlock and freeway automated driving are near-term doable, but anything else will be trickier, and weather conditions could complicate the process.

More information:

“Google Exec Says Autonomous Cars Are Coming”

The Detroit Bureau, April 22, 2015

Featured image: This photo provided by Google shows a self-driving car being tested by the company. (Provided by Google via Google Blog)