Google has been working on making the sci-fi dream of a self-driving car a reality for awhile now, and they’re getting pretty close to pulling it off. The technology has progressed to the point that Google now has a car which can make its way through a drive thru, and even find a parking space, without any direction at all.
At least that’s the way it seems from this video, in which Google’s self-driving car takes a blind man to Taco Bell. Watch and be amazed…
I’m going come right out and admit that I really don’t understand how this could possibly work. How would the car know it was at a drive thru, and thus know to stop at the speaker and then subsequently at the window? How could a car pick out a parking space? How does it figure out any of this? The answer may be that it doesn’t.
In the notes included with the video, Google admits that what you just watched was a “carefully programmed route”. In other words they may have pre-programmed a lot of that in. Steve the blind “driver” didn’t just say “take me to Taco Bell” and end up there. Maybe you noticed there weren’t any other cars on the road? No line at the drive thru either. Collision avoidance and staying between the lines may be possible with a self-driving car, but I suspect that despite the evidence presented in this particular video, tacos are still beyond your self-driving car’s reach.