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.