Google's Driverless Future

Will self-piloting vehicles rob us of the last of our privacy and autonomy?


Compared to, say, the slat-armored fighting vehicles commandeered by the U.S. Army's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Google's expanding fleet of autonomous Prii hardly seems threatening. (Yes, for the record, Prii is the official plural of the Toyota Prius.) 

The Google self-driving cars, of which there are now a dozen or so, have the company's familiar, friendly logo plastered on their doors. Their roofs sport laser scanners rotating on spoilers so clunky they seem purpose-built to make the cars seem less technologically disruptive than they really are. "That thing?" you can't help but ask when you look at one. "That's the thing that's going to make Mothers Against Drunk Driving as pointless as a radiator in a Tesla factory?"

Remember, however, what company we're talking about. This is the Google that was recently fined $7 million by 38 states and the District of Columbia for collecting email messages, passwords, and other personal information that had been transmitted over unprotected Wi-Fi networks. (Google says it never looked at the information.) This is the Google that agreed to pay a $22.5 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 for bypassing privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser and that already maintains a massive dossier about your interests and social ties using data obtained through its dozens of disparate services. 

"Our cars have sensors with which they magically can see everything around them," Google engineer Sebastian Thrun exclaimed in a 2011 TED talk. And yet no one ran out of the room screaming. That's because Google has done such an excellent job of positioning self-driving cars as an unmitigated social good that the privacy implications of these lumbering, 3,000-pound tablets have barely been acknowledged, much less discussed. Instead, the discourse has focused on the thousands of annual traffic deaths self-driving cars will prevent, the billions of gallons of gas they will save, and the carbon emissions they will reduce. 

Along with Google, more than two dozen car manufacturers and other entities are currently at work on driverless automobiles. But it's Google that is piloting us toward the radical new transportation reality just around the bend. Earlier this year, in a presentation to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Google product manager Anthony Levandowski said the company "expect[s] to release the technology in the next five years." 

Already a blind person can safely operate the vehicles, which use a laser scanner, radars, GPS, cameras, and high-resolution maps to determine where they are in the world, what else is nearby, and what they need to do to arrive safely at their ultimate destination. Presumably, drunk people can operate them too, not to mention 8-year-olds, 80-year-olds, narcoleptics, problem texters, and possibly even high-functioning border collies. 

Even with this expanded driving pool, driving will ostensibly get safer, because of the car's ability to eliminate human error while assessing and reacting to the world around it. Accidents could drop by as much as 90 percent. And while more drivers will take an increasing number of trips, we'll actually spend less overall time in transit because driverless cars can travel at higher speeds safely. Plus, once you hit your destination you can bail and let your car find a parking space.

Of course, when Google presents its vision of a future where traffic jams have gone the way of pay phones and road rage consists of exchanging angry tweets with strangers about last night's episode of Celebrity Apprentice, an unspoken presumption underlies the narrative: Everyone is just as jazzed about driverless cars as Google is. In this vision there are no congested lanes caused by Luddites putt-putting down the highway at 80 miles an hour in their 2013 Porsche Boxsters. There are no daredevil pranksters gunning their old-school Camaros through standing red lights and laughing uproariously as all the robo-cars slam on their brakes in precise, automatic deference. Everyone has gotten with the program, thus enabling the attainment of maximum safety, efficiency, and energy conservation. 

But is everyone really so eager to see the automobile, which stands as one of history's great amplifiers of personal autonomy and liberty, evolve into a giant tracking device controlled by a $250 billion corporation that makes its money through an increasingly intimate and obtrusive knowledge of its customers? 

Granted, we already use our phones and tablets to tell a growing scrum of data snoops where we go and what we do when we're not in front of our computers. At this point, however, we can still temper our disclosures fairly easily. We can disable the GPS. We can turn devices off completely or even leave them at home on occasion. 

Boot up a Google car, however, and it's not so easy to cut the connection with the online mothership. If you use it as intended—i.e., in driverless mode—you immediately start sending great quantities of revealing information to a company that's already hoarding every emoticon you've ever IMed. Even if it were possible to operate the car in some kind of "manual" mode, you would likely still be sending information back to headquarters. 

In time, Google will know when you arrive at work each morning, how many times a week you go to Taco Bell, how long you spend at the gym. As illuminating as our searches and other online behavior might be, there's still some room for ambiguity. Maybe you're doing all those searches on "brain tumor" because a relative is sick, or you're doing some sort of report, or you're simply curious. Combine that info with the fact that you start visiting the hospital every week, however, and Google knows you've got cancer. 

The driverless car, in short, is a data detective's dream, a device that can discern when you get a new job, how many one-night stands you have, how often you go to the dentist. As demarcation lines between the real world and the virtual world continue to blur, autonomous cars will function not so much as browsers but links, the way we get from one appointment or transaction opportunity to the next. In theory, Google will determine the route to your desired destination based on distance, available infrastructure, and current traffic conditions. But what if Google, which already filters cyberspace for you, begins choosing routes as a way of putting you in proximity to "relevant content"? 

Many people will no doubt love such new functionality. Others will opt out, or refuse to opt in. Others, however, will simply want to stay as far away from self-driving cars as possible. 

Another class of users who may not share Google's vision of the future is those who like the old-fashioned kinetic pleasures of driving. A third consists of people whose professions depend on traditional, human-piloted cars: cabbies, truckers, bus drivers, car insurance salesmen, etc. (UPS drivers and maybe even pizza delivery guys should be fine; someone has to carry the goods from the curb to the door.) 

At, business consultant Chunka Mui characterizes the coming driverless revolution as a potential $2 trillion disruption. Car design will change, with less emphasis on steel and airbags. Overall car sales may drop substantially as car sharing becomes far more convenient. (No more will you have to figure out how to get to the car sharing lot. Your car will automatically come to your house.) Auto financing companies, personal-injury lawyers, and emergency medical personnel will all likely see a decline in business. Local governments will lose major sources of revenue because of reduced moving violations and parking citations. 

Currently it is legal to operate a driverless car only in Nevada, California, and Florida. But as these vehicles become commonplace, demand for a regulatory U-turn will increase. So Mothers Against Drunk Driving will morph into Mothers Against Driving, a crusading organization determined to get America's deadliest assault weapon off the streets for good by advocating legislation that makes it illegal to operate traditional vehicles. It will be joined by countless other organizations whose interests are served best by mandatory driverlessness. 

Granted, legislation mandating self-tracking vehicles is not likely to pass quickly. But give credit where it's due. Years before anyone else had even realized what was at stake, Google was mapping out the coming discourse, paving the way for a future in which driverless cars are a virtuous and inevitable mark of progress, and traditional cars are, like cigarettes and military-style semi-automatic rifles, dangerous goods whose legal status is up for debate. Buckle up, America! We're in for a safe, efficient, and oppressively intrusive ride.

NEXT: FAA Won't Tell Residents of MA Town What the Deal is With Low-Flying Aircraft

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  1. I’m all for automatomobiles, but I’ve got a queasy feeling that there’s a liability hump they’ll have to get over first. The cars will have to operate pretty much flawlessly, and even then, the automatambulance chasers will sue if anything goes wrong, even if it has nothing to do with the computer/network driving the car.

    I wonder if a programming flaw that resulted in accidents would be treated as strict liability, the common standard in products liability claims? If so, that could add up fast.

    1. California, Nevada, Florida… none of these places have routine ice/snow issues.

      How does your box o batteires hold up to the ravages of winter, Google? What about the lazy lout who doesn’t clear the snow from the sensors? Can it ford an unplowed road at 5:30 AM?

      1. It will plow the snow. . .with a laser.

      2. Yes, I’m sure they haven’t thought of this, and surely technology could NEVER overcome such problems.

        1. Flying cars are one solution.

          1. I’ve been hoping for a breakthrough on this for years. I loved the Moller Skycar concept. To be able to travel long distances quickly, while reading a magazine, and then be able to drive around in the same vehicle when you get there…

            One step below the transporter.

            1. One step below the transporter

              You mean the “I commit suicide and hope my xerox copy does what I meant to” machine?

              1. Do you think you are made up of the same atoms you were at birth?

                1. The replacement process is slow enough to acclimate the newcomers. Besides, the evidence from the show it came from more or less supports my assertion (see Thomas Riker). It always creeped me out how they avoided examining the serious implications of their technology.

                  1. Science tip: atoms dont “acclimate”.

                    1. When you have the original pop out one end and the duplicate pop out the other and call it a ‘malfunction’ that tells me standard procedure is to copy and kill.

                      And the ‘acclimate’ was meant as a joke.

                      If you’re okay dying a horrible death and hoping your clone comes out right, go ahead and use it. I, on the other hand, have a different view of ‘self’ and can’t see how any sane person would use that machine.

                    2. Are you going to talk about God now?

                    3. Why?

                      Because I assert that a copy of my brain is not me?

                      You could take out the whole “disassemble” step and the transporter would work exactly the same, save for sparing the life of the original. (Its marked similarity to the replicator indicates that there is no need to actually bother transferring the original’s constituent parts to the other end.)

                    4. Yes.

                      You’ve been wanting to tell me about your soul since 11:09.

                    5. People on this site (and much of the internet) read things into commentary that aren’t there.

                    6. If that’s the case, I apologize.

                    7. Ive always assumed the transporters would work more like Niven’s version than Roddenberry’s.

                      Swap two equal volumes.

                    8. I’m not well versed with regards to Niven’s works, so it’s not the first thing that pops to mind for me when the topic comes up. I’d definately want to know more about the mechanism by which it accomplishes this exchange.

                    9. I’d definately want to know more about the mechanism by which it accomplishes this exchange.

                      Hand waving, just like with Star Trek.

                    10. As far as deaths go, being almost instantly decomposed into pure energy, or whatever it is supposed to be, seems pretty far to the non-horrible end of things.

                      Anyway, the transporter and closely related holideck are probably the most far fetched technology from Star Trek.

                    11. Holodeck no. With electrostatic ionization of air one can create a “force field” as demonstrated in that textile factory (I will try to find it but it should be on youtube). And with advancements in oled, lasers, and graphene I can see 3d projection into space being a possibility in the near future.

                    12. Science tip: atoms dont “acclimate”.

                      Oh yeah? What about homeopathy then?

                      (Sarcasm implied)

                2. Making an AI replica of my brain does me no good whatsoever. Making a physical copy of me does me no good whatsoever, particularly when you kill me afterwards.

                  Science and scientists should stick to the scientific method and leave consciousness, philosophy, and other non-flatland material alone.

        2. I’m not saying the problems can’t be overcome, but i’ve seen no evidence that they’ve tried.

        3. The dirty little secret about Google’s “self-driving” cars is that they punt control back to the human if they get confused and don’t know how to handle a situation. They don’t publicize it, but it is in some of the documentation if you poke around. It makes some sense (can you think of something better to do?) but it makes Google’s claims about all their accident-free miles less impressive; it’s like me claiming I scored 100% on a math test when I actually solved 95% of the problems correctly, and gave all the ones I couldn’t solve to someone else.

          1. That’s why you never buy the beta. I wait for 2.0 at least.

          2. Don’t they also publish numbers indicating how often this punting happens? If it only happens in nightmare traffic and then only 5% of the time, then it isn’t a big deal for most people.

            1. It somewhat defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? If the odds are that high, it’s going to happen at some point. We just drive too much for it not to. So I’ll need to be alert and attentive and ready to take over at a moment’s notice all the time. Thus, I won’t be able to talk on the phone or text, read, play games, sleep, be drunk, or any of the other things being claimed. And presumably the speed limit will be followed to the letter to avoid any liability associated with that. So, what benefits does this “self-driving” car give me?

              1. Well, it depends on the conditions under which it fails. If it only fails in dense, slow traffic, then worst case scenario it could just stop where it is and refuse to move until you sober up and take over or the traffic clears.

                If it fails in a high-speed scenario, and can’t safely come to a stop, then we have a problem.

          3. I’m sure there are loads of kinks still to work out, but i bet they are close. It is just amazing how far things like this have come in the last 5 years or so.

    2. It will be treated as strict liability until Google starts sending massive campaign contributions to every Congressman possible. Then there will be a limited liability exception carved out for driverless cars.

    3. just as Mark said I am startled that a mom can profit $6160 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you see this site link… http://WWW.DAZ7.COM

    4. If you think Leslie`s story is really cool,, last week my son made $7179 working 10 hours a week an their house and their co-worker’s half-sister`s neighbour did this for 4 months and errned more than $7179 in their spare time at there computer. use the instructions available at this link…

    5. I have a pacemaker. It has some pretty impressive software and memory capacity in it, that monitors and stimulates my heart. I’ve tried to get some details about its innards from the maker, but that’s proprietary info. I wonder how a software failure in it would be treated, legally.

    6. Evan. I just agree… Patrick`s report is impressive… last tuesday I bought a great Volkswagen Golf GTI after I been earnin $8978 this-last/5 weeks an would you believe $10,000 last-munth. it’s realy the easiest-job Ive ever done. I began this 3 months ago and immediately got me over $73 per-hr. I went to this website
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

    7. what Marcus answered I didn’t even know that some one able to make $9995 in 1 month on the computer. have you read this page

    8. my neighbor’s mom makes $66 an hour on the internet. She has been without work for 5 months but last month her income was $16989 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  2. Driverless car = cool.

    Alt-textless photo = NOT COOL.

  3. I’m torn.

    I hate driving, but I hate Google more.

  4. You missed the best loser in the new world order: Broke municipalities and police departments unable to fund operations by ticketing relatively harmless motorists.

    1. Easy – local ordinance requiring an alert, licensed driver in the vehicle “in case of system failure”, ticket revenue restored.

      1. I’m sorry, that’s $5,000 for not wearing a seatbelt in your automatamobile. No sir, we don’t care that there hasn’t been an accident with an automated vehicle in twenty years. Sir, step away from the vehicle. You have the right to a beating.

    2. They’ll probably institute a “miles driven” surtax that you have to report on your annual registration renewal.

      1. They’ll probably institute a “miles driven” surtax that you have to report on your annual registration renewal.

        Correction: They’ll institute a “miles driven” surtax and your car will helpfully inform them how far its driven.

        Or at least until you Jailbreak it, anyway.

  5. I strip away the old debris
    That hides a shining car.
    A brilliant red Barchetta
    From a better, vanished time.
    I fire up the willing engine,
    Responding with a roar.
    Tires spitting gravel,
    I commit my weekly crime…

    1. And 50 H&R readers simultaneously put that song on…

      1. I put on Vital Signs instead.

      2. 50 people read H&R? I thought it was like 12 or something.

        1. Nine, plus sockpuppets.

          1. There is no “hit and run” commentariat. The comments were taken down years ago and we’re merely the inhabitants in a universe strikingly similar to the last episode of St. Elsewhere.

            Coincidentally, Joe from lowell has been in a coma for a decade.

  6. I, for one, welcome our new automotive overlords.

    I could care less if Google collects data on me. Google has no guns. Teh gubmint, OTOH, needs to get a fucking warrant!


    Invest in the bar industry.

    1. Invest in the bar industry.


      JohnnyCab is the solution to drunkeness situations.

      1. No way am I getting in one of those things drunk.


  7. …evolve into a giant tracking device controlled by a $250 billion corporation that makes its money through an increasingly intimate and obtrusive knowledge of its customers?

    More playing devil’s advocate here than really serious, but since when are multi-billion dollar corporations making money a bad thing around here? I thought we trusted them all.

    1. I thought we trusted them all.

      Why would we trust ANYONE?

      1. Dunno. Personally I trust both corporations and government each as far as I could chuck a dead monkey. But it seems sometimes that, in the libertarian scheme of things, government is staffed by unrelenting devils and corporations by spotless angels.

        1. I think you are reading what the opponents of libertarians say.

          I dont know any of us who trust corporations, we just dont worry about it because they dont have the ability to force us into using their products (without getting support from the unrelenting devils in government).

        2. Corporations can’t kidnap you or your children. They can’t steal your property or take money from your paycheck. They can’t force you to buy their products. They can’t fine you. They can’t shoot your dog. They can’t beat you to death. They can’t force you to ask permission or take orders.

          Government can.

          1. And corporations can get in bed with government. Their actions can lead to the same end result. How long until there is legislation outlawing human-driven cars? Isn’t that basically the same thing as Google forcing you to buy their products? I know you could always choose not to drive, but that’s ridiculous. Google has shown itself willing to get into bed with government on numerous occasions. Fuck Google.

            1. So why would you lay the blame at the feet of the corporation and not government.

              A corporation (group of people) have the right to petition the government for any reason (1A). Why not limit the government’s ability to grant favors to one group over another?

              1. Why should I defend Google when they prove themselves so willing to get in bed with government? I lay blame where blame is due. Certainly it would be lovely to have a government which doesn’t have this type of power. But we don’t and Google could choose not to get in bed with them. They don’t. So fuck Google.

                1. So if it comes down to limiting the rights of citizens or limiting the power of government, you’d prefer to limit the people, because it’s just too hard to limit government?

                  1. No. I prefer to limit the rights on anyone who seeks to use to the end of a gun to compel. Google included.

                    1. I guess I’m just wondering why some liberty-loving people are so quick to defend corporations. Let’s not forget that the very concept of a corporation came into being as a government favor to politically connected people. Why should we be so surprised that they continue to remain in bed with government? And why the hell should we defend them?

                    2. Many corporations end up getting lobbyists, simply because their competitors do and they need to compete on equal footing. Simply saying I won’t, when your competitors are is a surefire way to chapter 11.

                      I guess I’m just wondering why some liberty-loving people are so quick to defend corporations.

                      LEGITIMATE corporations make my life and the lives of others better. Through scale, they can bring me high quality, yet inexpensive, goods and services freeing what I have leftover to buy additional products that improve my quality of life.

                      Vilifying them is counter productive.

                      Is cronyism a problem? You bet it is. But, I choose to address it by limiting the power of government rather than the rights of people.

                    3. And I choose to address it by fighting on both fronts. Sure, I’d love to see government power to allow cronyism greatly reduced. And I’ll fight for it and argue for it every step of the way. But it ain’t gonna happen any time soon. So, in the meantime, I’m happy to fight against the corporate interests as well. I’ve also noticed that framing things in these terms helps in finding allies who are sick of the corporatist influence but don’t (yet) understand the underlying causes.

                    4. Then refer to it as cronyism.

                      Demonizing corporations in general is self defeating.

                    5. I don’t really think so. As I mentioned, the corporate structure came about as a favoritist grant to the well-connected. By their history, corporations are cronyism incarnate.

                    6. If you want to take the absolutist stance that you’re taking with governments, you have to do the same with corporations. So you have to ask yourself – would an organization with the same characteristics as a modern corporation (e.g. legally-enforced limited liability) arise in the limited government world you favor? And be consistent with your ethics? I’m not convinced it would.

                    7. So your problem with corporations is limited liability?

                      If a small business fucks up, do they go after the bank that lent them money? You think if I invest in a company that poisons a lake (without my consent/knowledge) that they should be able to come after my house and car?

                    8. And I choose to address it by fighting on both fronts

                      The fronts are:

                      Reducing the power of government
                      Reducing the rights of people.

                      Yeah, seems pretty damn stupid to fight a two-front war there.

              2. Petition for any reason? Doesn’t it say something about “redress of grievances”. Pretty sure that doesn’t cover anything. I read it to mean being able to seek to be remunerated for abuses and wrongs committed by government without fear of reprisal. That seems to be most in line with the meaning of the words.

  8. So that’s the reason Youtube has been sucking the lat 2 ir so years.

    1. *last *or

      1. *late *fir

  9. Nice vehicle dynamics, Toyota. Where did you put the batteries, in the roof?

  10. Dude seems to make a lot of sense man. Wow.

  11. Nobody would ever file a flight plan to the gym and then walk around the corner to the bar.

    1. I don’t know, can other members of your household see your travel history?

  12. The first competitor to googlecar better be called Johnny Cab or Im gonna be pissed.

      1. Thats not Johnny Cab.

        And that service is anything but unique. Louisville’s version puts a fold up scooter in your trunk for getting back after dropping your drunk ass off.

        The Liquor Fairy told me her company pays for city scoot for all employees. They are very serious about drunk driving, its an automatic fireable offense, but they do what they can to make sure their employees have options.

  13. Skynet started as a chauffeur, you know.

  14. I can’t imagine we’ll see door-to-door service in my lifetime. But there are still lots of opportunities to be useful. For example, I should be able to hit the “auto” button on the steering wheel when I turn onto the on-ramp of the freeway and then never touch the controls until the car hits the exit ramp 20 minutes later. This problem is manageable.

    1. I can’t imagine we’ll see door-to-door service in my lifetime.

      I cant imagine we wont see it in my lifetime.

      20 years tops.

      1. I’m surprised it’s taken this long.

        Jets built in the 80s could fly hands off at 200′ and 600 knots.

        This is way overdue.

      2. It won’t happen in airplanes in 20 years, and there is a lot less stuff to run into (and there are industry committees actively trying to figure out how to do it).

        1. The biggest impediment for airplanes are the current regulations (go figure). The military, needing to fly drones in the NAS has been the driving force in getting these antiquated regulations changed.

          The first commercial application will be on cargo planes. When it becomes readily apparent that these planes have better safety records than piloted ones, we’ll see the shift.

          1. I know there are a lot of engineers and other technical people that hang out here, but there is a big difference in designing complex systems and complex systems that kill people when then fail.

            A system that works 99.9% of the time is sufficient for most applications in the modern world. But when people’s lives depend upon a system, we need to build systems that don’t fail in any way the results in a death 99.9999999% of the time.

            The idea of a self-navigating vehicle is really easy to understand. But it’s pretty fucking hard to build a system where the odds of killing someone are less than one in a million or one in a billion depending upon how many people you’re going to kill at one time.

            1. 99.9999999%


              Have you looked at current highway death rates? Significant improvement over that is all that is needed.

              1. Okay, looked it up, current rate is 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles, so if you consider 1 mile to be one unit for the denominator, we are operating at 99.9999989% now, so maybe you are close to right.

                I think I would use a different denominator, but its still a good measure.

                Yes, we need to be significantly under 1 death per 100 million miles with the google car for it to make sense.

                1. Google car is “only” at 500k miles so far, so it needs another factor of 1000 to really prove itself.

                2. You’re starting to get the idea. If you have a known failure condition with results in death with a probability of 1 in a million, then a fleet of a million cars WILL kill someone.

                  The current rules are stupid. A fleet of a million self-navigating cars would eliminate a thousand accidents caused by distracted drivers. But you don’t get to put that in your safety analysis. You only get to look at the rare computer problem that occurs on an icy road the results in a high-speed accident that kills the passengers of the car installed with your system.

              2. People are allowed to kill themselves and others, then the civil justice system sorts it all out later.

                People that build safety-critical system are not allowed that luxury.

                1. So you are saying society won’t allow technological advances because doing so makes it harder to sue?

                  1. No. I am saying the rules for deciding which person can drive a car are different from the rules for deciding which computer can drive a car.

                    The general public (and the representatives they elect) do not apply a rational and consistent sets of rules for risk management to the ordinary hazards they face every day and new hazards associated with emerging technology.

                    1. The general public (and the representatives they elect) do not apply a rational and consistent sets of rules for risk management to the ordinary hazards they face every day and new hazards associated with emerging technology.

                      Perhaps we should vote those irrational representatives out of office?


                    2. This is a libertarin website visited by many people that would like nothing better than that outcome.

                    3. Perhaps we should vote those irrational representatives out of office?

                      I’ve tried voting harder and it still doesn’t seem to work.

            2. Only gotta make it so it kills people less than pilots/drivers do. Net plus.

              1. You are trying apply rational thought to a regulatory framework that is not rational.

                If we lived in libertopia, we could have self-navigating planes and autos in short order. We do not live in libertopia.

                The regulatory ratchet only goes one way, and mass-produced self-navigating cars will not be produced under the current regulations, but under future regulations written by bed-wetting nannies.

              2. People don’t care about the actual danger of a thing as much as they care about the perceived/hyped danger of a thing. Pilotless cargo jets could have billions upon billions of safe miles but the second one crashes into an elementary school the ban-hammer crowd (probably led by the pilot’s union) will start crowing and cawing.

                Look at the stats for the AR15 and tell me this isn’t true.

                1. It will be SIGNIFICANTLY safer. Pilots cause between 40-60% of all accidents. I’m all for getting those killing machines out of the cockpit.

                  1. Freer gun ownership and ending prohibition significantly reduces crime. Evidence suggests GBN is right.

                2. It depends on whether the ban-hammer crowd own self-driving cars themselves or not. They only have a problem with things they don’t want, thus, iPhones made in sweatshops are OK.

  15. Another class of users who may not share Google’s vision of the future is those who like the old-fashioned kinetic pleasures of driving.

    Count me in this cohort. The other day I literally cackled as I entered a 20 MPH onramp while going 70 because that fucking Corolla in front of me hogging the left lane for two miles finally managed to pass the guy next to him. I’ll only go driverless while I’m out drinking or on a long, boring road trip, which is to say that I’ll treat the advent of driverless cars the same way I treat every other driver: with hate and distrust.

    1. I hate long road trips and I hate city driving.

      Driving is fun, but It could easily be a once every 3 months kind of thing for me and I would be fine.

      Im hoping that my current car lasts long enough that the option to not replace it at all exists when it finally needs replacing.

      1. To clarify: I dont want to ever BUY a google car.

  16. Seriously though, how would the police ever get probable cause for DUI outside of lying about some missing license plate light or looking shifty or just being on the road at 320am?

    1. Your state requires probable cause for DUI? I envy you.

  17. Your Google car will be aware of your Google search history and will modify its path to your destination based on places it thinks you might want to stop on the way there. I can only imagine the piles of advertising money Google will be getting for this awesome feature.

    1. It’s going to take me to porn sites?

      1. Damn, beat me to the punch.

        1. Don’t be surprised when you end up at’s headquarters in San Francisco.

      2. Please. You can’t drive to Russia.

        1. Please to take ferry boat from Alaska to Kamchatka.

    2. I already get freaked out when I search for a place on my desktop and when I get in my car, my phone pops up directions to that place without prompting.

      Well, it does it regardless of whether I get in my car or not, but that is when I notice it doing this.

    3. It’s going to drive me to porn?

  18. You’re whistling along in your Googlemobile at 7PM on a wintry eve, and the “pilot” detects deer grazing on both sides of the road.

    How does he respond?

    1. Urban firmware “Kernel Panic, wildlife detected!”

      Rural Firmware “Do you want to get out a shotgun?”

    2. Machine guns pop out the headlight ports and obliterate the threat.

      And now, in the MT version, the car will stop, gut it out, throw it in the trunk and then proceed to the nearest game processing place.

      1. Here in Maine it used to be that if you hit an animal, the state police would take the meat because it belonged to “The Public” (everyone but you).

        So someone sued the state for damages to their car saying that if the animal belonged to the state, then the state was liable for the wrecked car.

        Rather than fix the car, they now give you the option to keep the meat.

        1. Roadkill Moose – among the most expensive meats available.

        2. Here in NH, the police usually have a list of people to call to pick up deer and other large edible roadkill if the driver who hit it doesn’t want it.

    3. On second thought… google knows the personality of the passengers, the response will hinge on their past prejudgices regarding wildlife. I know it’s a boring answer, but it encompasses the others based upon who’s riding.

  19. UPS and pizza places will be ok…

    If they can make a robot safely navigate city streets during rush hour they can make a robot climb some steps and ring your doorbell.

    And if you’re worried about some kid gunning his car through a stop light, don’t be. Local law enforcement would immediately receive dozens of pictures of the guy, his car and his license plate from multiple angles. In this future every car is a red-light camera.

    1. That’s why existing unjust laws need to be scrapped before this becomes The Way. Consumption of stuff cannot be prohibited, lest your legal operation of an automobile rat you out EVERY TIME.

      I don’t really care if even the government knows everything about me, as long as everything is legal.

      Drugs, gambling, prostitution, guns…no restrictions or laws about these things for persons 18 and over.

      Since that won’t happen, I can’t justify owning my own portable tracking device.

  20. It seems that human- and self-driven vehicles must necessarily be mutually exclusive, on a given stretch of road. Reason being, a human’s driving skill cannot be expected to cope with that of surrounding self-driven vehicles. Since purposefully reducing the performance level of the self-driver must be expected to result in a higher accident rate, it seems clear that adoption of self-driven vehicles must result in the prohibition of human-driven ones.

    1. Your premises are wrong.

      Human drivers dont have to cope with the self-driven, the self-driven cope with the human drivers.

      The humans wont notice anything different.

      Well, not entirely true, humans will have to adjust to the self-driven cars not running red lights so there will be a few fender benders before that adjustment is made, because the human will be expecting to also run the light and hit the car that stops.

      1. Presumably the self-driven cars will be so well-coordinated as to be timed to cruise through lights….given no human drivers fuck with their timing. I will take great joy in slowing down enough to make the light but cause the self-driven car behind me, and thus his fart-sniffing passenger, to miss the light he expected to make.

      2. Human drivers dont have to cope with the self-driven, the self-driven cope with the human drivers.

        This model dumbs down the technology, to achieve parity with that of the inferior human driver, and thereby leaves a significant measure of safety on the table. Remember: “If we can save just one life.”

    2. It seems that human- and self-driven vehicles must necessarily be mutually exclusiv


      I’d’ say you won’t realize the full potential of auto cars until all vehicles on the road are auto.

      If you mix the two, you will need to keep speed limits consistent with human reaction times.

      1. Exactly, and since “full potential” translates to “lives saved,” I believe we can easily predict what results.

  21. Wait, why are we acting like someone isn’t going to market an Open-Driverless Car a year or two after Google’s hits market? Shoot it’ll probably be rooted before it hits markets

    People rejiggered Google Chrome to come up with Comodo Dragon, and there are versions of Android with the most egregious advertising and tracking elements removed.

  22. You think the Google logo is “friendly”????!!!??

  23. Looks like I’m in the minority, but I just don’t see what the problem is. Why berate private companies for innovation? If you have a problem with Google (or any other company) and their intrusiveness, don’t buy their products or use their services. No one is forcing you to patronize Google.

    Or would you prefer that the Government ban private companies from collecting individual user data and prevent companies from innovating products such as the driverless car?

  24. Will the Google car be an agile and skilled enough driver to safely steer through a spin on black ice?

    And you just know this will happen:

    “Hey, Mike, my @$%# car just drove off without me. Yeah. When it gets there, could you send it back please?”

  25. All I know is I’m looking forward to retiring in 20 years, ditching my house, and living in a self-driving RV that takes me to a new destination every night while I’m sleeping. Maybe I’ll look out the window on the abandoned high-speed rail tracks populated only by futuristic hipsters pumping on a handcar for the fun of it.

  26. as Phillip implied I am taken by surprise that a person can make $9857 in a few weeks on the internet. did you see this webpage go to this site home tab for more detail— http://WWW.JOBS34.COM

  27. So, what is it about driverless cars that nobody seems to be talking about?

    Traffic tickets.

    Traffic tickets actually make up the majority of the income of the county in which I live, more than all of the taxes put together. Our police force is a constant, non-stop extortion machine pumping tickets out faster than they run red lights. (hint: that’s DAMN fast)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a pretty severe lobby against these cars. If not, then there will be a sudden and extreme change in what is considered illegal on your motor vehicle. Registration fees will skyrocket. Police will suddenly be extremely interested in the tread on your tires, the height of your bumper, and seatbelt roadblocks will be set up every ten blocks and every few miles on the highway.

    Money grubbing bastards.

  28. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link,

    1. anonbot…this is not the thread to promote working for Google on…damn machines

  29. my classmate’s step-mother earned $16044 the prior month. she gets paid on the internet and got a $539400 home. All she did was get fortunate and work up the clues revealed on this link go to this site home tab for more detail— http://WWW.JOBS34.COM

  30. “Prii is the official plural of the Toyota Prius”.

    This is just silly. The use of Latin plurals in English is gradually fading away, but Toyota just has to be pretentious with the plural of its made-up car name. In Latin, “prius” isn’t even a noun – it’s an adjective or adverb (hence there is no “correct” Latin plural).

  31. The article is stupid and written by someone who appears to be technically illiterate. There is no reason to believe that a self-driving car would track you any more than a regular car. Nor will Google be the only company offering such a car. Reason should ban this author.

  32. before I saw the receipt for $8998, I have faith that…my… mother in law actualy taking home money in there spare time on their apple labtop.. there great aunt has been doing this for under and a short time ago took care of the loans on there cottage and bought themselves a Audi Quattro. read more at,

  33. I’m going to be straight with you: Did Detective Spooner look stripped of his privacy and autonomy in I, Robot? It’s okay, I know you’ll answer in the negative. Until they do something like starting to refit used cars in Baton Rouge LA so everyone’s car is driverless, I’m not really concerned.

  34. OMG! now way, what is next? I truly believe Google will one day run the world 🙂

  35. we’re talking about. This is the Google that was recently fined $7 million by 38

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