No Drivers Needed

An adhesive lint roller is held in front of a blue car Exciting news broke regarding autonomous cars. Uber announced it started testing a self-driving car in Pittsburgh, the city where I attended college, cruised the the three rivers and discovered the joy of French fries on garden salads. More importantly for the tech, as I said in a previous post about emerging autonomous vehicles, driving in the ‘Burgh is unique.

Those hilly roadways and sharp turns and bridges and tunnels appear a plenty. Those roadways encounter seasonal issues like ice, rain, potholes and college students stumbling home in South Oakland. What a test lab, genius location scouting. My main concern is–how long will it take for the self-driving Uber vehicle to learn a critical maneuver to any yinzer, the Pittsburgh Left?

The Pittsburgh story easily warmed my now driver-licenseless heart (thanks, retinas), but then another story caught my attention. It, how shall I say, remained with me. The headline baited me. A company patented a product easing pedestrian stress around self-driving vehicles. Hmmm, I wonder what they created.

The Google team patented human flypaper.

What?! Well, in the unlikely event of a car/pedestrian collision–studies show self driving cars will be vastly safer than all of the “above average” drivers of America–this material on the hood will be like your Aunt Nancy’s grippy goodbye at holiday parties, once encountered, it won’t let you go easily.

Take a moment and visualize it. You’re crossing the street. A car doesn’t quite stop in time. You anticipate bodily injury, being tossed aside or even worse, projected skyward like that unforgetable CGI sequence from Meet Joe Black. Not anymore with the tricked out hood ornament. You’ll surf like a turtle in a rip tide, but still be alive. The first responders could peel you away like a used sheet from a lint roller. Ffffffppptt. All better.

With all these developments going on, it’s time join in. Uber, Google, and any other company seriously developing autonomous cars, I’ll volunteer my testing services in the spirit of pratfalls for science. A pedestrian with a white cane, coming at you. Sign me up, especially if it includes free lunch in Pittsburgh.

What do you think about autonomous cars? Tell me about it.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenelle says:

    Thanks for the update Susan! Joy and I have been anxiously awaiting self driving cars for a while now. We happen to have a relative who is on the google team working on it so have tried to get info from him but he is always tight lipped about it. Seriously think it will be amazing for all of us!

    1. It will be amazing, looking forward to it over here on the East Coast.

  2. Trisha says:

    Oh my! Human fly paper? Crazy! Well, at the very least it would make hit and runs a thing of the past. I think riding in an automated car would be terrifying but I still hope they catch on. So often, my eyes and reflexes can’t be trusted, especially after dark.

    1. It’s only a matter of time!

  3. Casee says:

    I am so looking forward to these self-driving cars. I do hope that they waive the requirement of a licensed driver behind the wheel. That is the current rule in many areas right now. They want someone that can take over if the car gets loopy. I want to ride in the back seat and listen to my audiobooks and be gently nudged when I am at my destination and then I want them to make arrangements to pick me up without me having to type in the information. The future is coming and it can’t get here fast enough for this nondriving taxi taker!

    1. You had me at audiobooks.

  4. Casee says:

    🙂 Audiobooks are my daily joy.

  5. Sounds scary and sticky but liberating. It would be a great relief to get away from our bad tempered bus drivers though!

    1. And with self-driving cars will come self-driving buses. An autonomous bus can’t lose its temper with riders, ha.

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