My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why @Google’s Self-Driving Electric Vehicles in June 2015 reduces Accidents, Parking and increase Ride Sharing

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why @Google’s Self-Driving Electric Vehicles in June 2015 reduces Accidents, Parking and increase Ride Sharing

Google's self-driving Buggy Car should have hit the road last Summer in 2014 as noted in my blog article entitled “Google 100 strong Fully Autonomous All-Electric Vehicles launched – 25 mph Limit on AI Chauffeur in 2015 with Black Boxes makes Crashes like aeroplanes”.  

But that never occurred.

However, the Summer of 2015 looks like the year, as Google has now promised that their little self-driving fully autonomous pods will be roaming about the streets of Mountain View, California in June 2015 as reported in the article “Robo-car, go! Google's latest self-driving prototypes are heading to public roadways”, published May 15, 2015 by Lance Whitney, CNET News and “Google’s Self-Driving Cars Will Hit Public Roads In Mountain View This Summer”, published May 15, 2015 by Jon Russell, Techcrunch


So say’s Google in their official Blog article “Green lights for our self-driving vehicle prototypes”, published Friday, May 15, 2015, Google Official Blog.

These twenty five (25) VW Beetle All-Electric Vehicle lookalikes have more in common with the United Kingdom’s US$25 million dollar push to develop Driverless pods to carry British and Tourists around, with potential savings in terms of reduced accidents, fuel as well as increased productivity as noted in my blog article entitled “How Britain will make US$29 billion from Driverless Cars by 2025 - British Government's US$29 million Driverless Vehicles Gamble”.


So what is Google’s plan for these driverless pods now being finally unleashed upon the streets of Mountain View, California to test their driving skill in the real World? It is a multi-tentacled plot, like an octopus, to attack several competitors at once.

Google’s Self-Driving Car Pods – 25 Self-Driving Vehicle to get a feel for the Road

They’re somewhat related to their other fleet of autonomous vehicles, a set of Lexuses bristling with LIDAR, Radar, sonar and other sensors.

Those other autonomous vehicles have been made famous for only being involved in a total of eleven (11) accidents over the course of a year, all caused by human error as the computer was not at fault as reported in the article “When self-driving cars go bump in the street”, published May 11, 2015 by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET News and “Four self-driving cars have been involved in accidents since September”, published May 11, 2015 By Chris Welch, The Verge.   


These self-driving buggys differ, however, in one main aspect, in that they they’re totally designed from the ground up by Google as noted in the article “GOOGLE WILL UNLEASH ITS SELF-DRIVING CARS ON PUBLIC ROADS THIS SUMMER”, published May 18, 2015 By Karen Tumbokon, DigitalTrends.

They've also been improved upon since June 2014 when the first video came out of the Google self-Driving Buggy being shown to some complete strangers.


The speed is still set at 40.2 kph (25 mph), with the self-driving All-Electric Vehicle prototypes now having a steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal to allow the designated driver to take over should they feel the need to do so.  And yes, this new model has headlights to replace those painted on eyes of the first model.


These twenty five (25) as-yet-to-be-named self driving cars have been tested extensively at Google's indoor testing facility to make sure that the sensors and software work properly and are sensing their environment in a way that'll make them roadworthy enough to handle any situation when they make their Mountain View, California debut.

Google self-Driving Vehicle Ambitions – Responsibility during accidents and Rough Driving experience required

The aim is for these self-driving Google Pods to rack up at least 16093 km (10,000 miles) each week on the streets of California and acquaint themselves with Californian Road Rules.

Eventually, if perfected to the point where these All-Electric self-driving pods can be recharged via solar power alone, Google plans to use them for everything from delivery Services to carrying around humans in a Ride-sharing equivalent of Uber or Lyft as pointed out in the article “Google sees ride sharing, solar power in the future of its self driving car”, published April 24, 2015 By Alexander Kalogianni, DigitalTrends.  

Albeit I’m not sure how many Californians would gladly jump into a Google equivalent of Uber with no driver!

Google would also stand to make money from licensing their technology to Corporate and Enterprise entities in order to reduce their transportation costs and make their employees more productive.

Not only would road accidents be reduced, but so would the need for parking, as they’d always be either on the move to pick up someone or some package as they’d recharge via solar power as noted in the article “Self-Driving Cars Would Slash Traffic, End Street Parking”, published 5/07/2015 by Neil Winton, Forbes

It is also to allow the vehicle to learn how to handle themselves in unusual situations that may constitute less than 1% of regular road travel. Good to note here that California's roads are nearly perfectly flat concrete wastelands that stretch for miles in this country that's many times the size of Jamaica.


They might work well in this Developed World country where they have parking lots and lots of concrete roadways as show in the example using Audi. But they certainly would fail miserably in a Third World Country like Jamaica where proper roads are non-existent and road conditions are not so perfect for just straight ordinary driving.

In fact, they’d be easily crushed in an accident, the main problem that I have with their design which looks a little flimsy. And yes, Google and Californian lawmakers haven’t sorted out who is at fault during an accident.


For Google; for the next road test, it would be good to send a few of them to the mean streets of India, Bangladesh, Accra in Ghana or even here in Jamaica. If they can survive driving in those countries, they can drive anywhere else just fine.


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