If you ever thought that you wouldn’t see a car that drives itself in real life, that moment has now come. The future is here and Google has showcased their technology and released a video of the first public self-driving car user. The lucky man is named Steve Mahan.
Google describes their video release of the Self-Driving Car on YouTube as the following:
“We announced our self-driving car project in 2010 to make driving safer, more enjoyable, and more efficient. Having safely completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, we wanted to share one of our favorite moments. Here’s Steve, who joined us for a special drive on a carefully programmed route to experience being behind the wheel in a whole new way. We organized this test as a technical experiment, but we think it’s also a promising look at what autonomous technology may one day deliver if rigorous technology and safety standards can be met.”
The video starts out with some really mellow music from the Album Leaf – “We Need Help.” Mr. Mahan is walking out to the car in a driveway and briefly touches the backend of the car to find his way around to the driver’s side. As he opens the door a Google employee named Nathaniel says, “Good morning Steve.” Steve replies, “Hey Nathaniel. How are you?” After a bit of banter Nathaniel tells Steve to go ahead, a little bit of electronic beeping starts and the Google Self-Driving Car announces, “Auto Driving.”
That is the future of the roadways in America and most likely the world within probably a decade. The car takes off and you can enjoy the completely automated driving done by the car while Steve Mahan mans the driver’s seat. You see the steering wheel turning from side to side all on it’s own as the self-driven car expertly handles parked cars, turns and stops.
At one point Steve announces, “Look, Ma, no hands” and starts laughing. Steve adds, “No hands, no feet.” Nathaniel says, “No hands, no feet, no nothing.” How does Steve feel about this experience? Steve says, “I love it.” After driving around for awhile everyone’s getting a little hungry and Steve says, “Hey anybody up for a Taco?”
The journey starts to drive-thru and Taco Bell. Guess what? The car handles the drive-thru window experience just fine as well. After they get their food you can actually see Steve sitting in the driver’s seat while he’s eating a taco in his hands. The future of driving? Doing what you want, like putting on your make-up, eating while driving, texting while driving, talking with your kids, you name it. Now, all of the sudden, those in car video screens could become useful for even the driver.
Steve tells his story in the Self-Driving Car Test video released by Google. Steve’s story:
95% of my vision is gone. I’m well past legally blind. You lose your timing in life, everything takes you much longer. There are some places that you cannot go there are some things that you cannot do. Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to to go the places I both want and need to go when I need to do those things.
Google labels Mr. Steve Mahan as Self-Driving Car User #000000001
The video was Produced in Partnership with Morgan Hill Police Department and Santa Clara Valley Blind Center San Jose, CA.
The video ends with what Steve has probably been ready for all his life, driving on his own, he announces, “You guys get out, I’ve got places to go…” Being blind in the future doesn’t have to be so limited it seems.