Google’s Self Driving Car Initiative

 

The self driving car is Google’s initiative, but what drives the giant to complete it?

Google has yet to NOT surprise me. From balloon wifi to free internet to Google glasses. I mean, Google finds ways to incorporate itself into everyone’s daily lives one way or another. If you have an android phone, the Play Store where you get all your apps? Google. How about your web browser Chrome? Google. (Mind you if you don’t have it, it is quite possibly the best browser out there, at least from what I have tested.) I mean who doesn’t use Google.com for their daily searches. How about YouTube; now I know for a FACT ya’ll use YouTube. And yes, Google owns that too. Here is a diagram of stuff Google owns and invests in, just for fun.

Related ArticleThe Road Rage is Strong With This One

 

 

It seems that Google is once again taking things further, this time in the form of a self driving car. As it is, Google has been working on self driving cars for a long time now, but most recently they decided to roll out their idea into the world around us. Google’s self driving car initiative is taking to the public streets for tests and trials as they move forward to a promised public release date of 2017. But of course, that consumer friendly release of a self driving car is all speculation, and critics such as Dan Flores, from General Motors’ advanced technology group, say very hurtful things:

 We do not think someone will have a fully autonomous production vehicle that soon, vehicles that can drive themselves are years — maybe decades — away. The technology will develop in steps to allow the vehicle to do more and act incrementally as sensors get more robust and costs come down.

Leave it to a big auto company like GM to put us down. And yet, Google perseveres. Already 3 states have legalized public testing of the self driving cars; Nevada, California, and Florida have made changes to laws to help Google’s plans for driver-less cars to move forward. Already we are seeing companies work on transport grids that would warn drivers of upcoming hazards and instant traffic details. With technology like this in the works, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to expect driver-less cars sometime very soon.

Google’s future in car transportation seems to point to a Google taxi service, a Robo Taxi of sorts. With the newly introduced, and fairly popular Lyft driving services, it would only make sense for Google to move in the direction of replacing conventional taxis. As this idea is only speculative, it does somewhat make sense. A search engine giant that has a taxi service to inspire more search engine time goodness? Focusing on creating self driving cars to allow for more YouTubing and Google+ing? Why else is Google Maps so popular and updated so frequently?

Related Article: Blimps are the Future!

Who knows what is in store for driver-less cars from Google. With the way things are panning out I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s driveless cars featured solar panels and some sort of wind turbine to gather energy throughout the daily drives. Then again, (deep breath) I wouldn’t be surprised if Google turned out to be run by a self aware computer that was looking to entwine itself into everything and anything living on Earth only to have the human race rise against it and fight nearly to extinction but through a last ditch effort survive and beat the main computer that the AI started from because of course the computer wouldn’t think to make a lot of central hubs that it can reside in. Boy wouldn’t that be a sci-fi movie cliche. Cheers to artificial intelligence!

 

Research:

Google Glass

Wikipedia: Google Play

Google Browser: Chrome

CNET: How Google’s robo-cars mean the end of driving as we know it

GM: Dan Flores

CNET: First Smart Cars, Next Smart Transport Grids

USA Today: States take the wheel on drive-less cars

Google’s Robo-Taxi Rumors

Be a Lyft Driver

Google Plus

Google Maps

Wondergressive: A Non-Loony Google Project Called Loon

Wondergressive: Free Internet, Help Yourself

Wondergressive: The Road Rage is Strong With This One

Wondergressive: Blimps are the Future!

Robotic Sense and Feel

As you may have already noticed, us writers of Wondergressive are obsessed with robots, and when new news of robotic improvements surface, you better believe that we are reading about those new developments with both vigor and ecstasy. Most of the time.

Anyway, there was early talk of a bionic hand that can feel and transmit the sense of touch to the user. It is being developed later this year so it seems the technology is finally surfacing! Amazingly, the bionic hand is getting an additional upgrade: it will soon be able to dig in your pocket (get your mind out of the gutter) to find the right amount of change needed for the toll booth you are sitting at. Soon, very soon.

Researchers of the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology have created and successfully used a robotic arm which identifies items based on how each object feels. This new robot can maneuver around an area to reach a certain goal; even when lightly coming in contact with structures or objects the robot simply redirects its movement to get to the goal. The idea is to allow the robot to move without too much force when coming in contact with humans at a workplace, or when searching for an item that is out of the robot’s viewpoint. In this way, the robot does not have to be completely careful and can still gently come in contact with objects. Without damaging anything, it can then continue its work by redirecting its movements.

With this new robotic arm, robots could potentially be used to assist the elderly and handicapped in daily routines. Or what about those dangerous and sensitive rescue missions that need delicate care and specific precautions? Robots everywhere!

The best part? The researchers have made the robot’s “feel” skin as well as the robot’s software open source and readily available for all others working on and interested in robotics.

So why not move forward with this technology to better our lives? Why not find ways to better our AI counterparts? Why not become cyborgs that don’t feel emotion, are as strong as Metallo with evil intent, and (matrix spoiler) enslave our fellow human breatherin after a grueling war of humans and AI where the sun is blotted out in order to stop the machines from getting energy from the sun but it backfires and we humans lose the war only to become the machines’ new source of energy? Okay maybe not any of that cyborg spiel but instead the creation of a real bicentennial man.

As before and always thereafter, the singularity is nigh upon us!

 

 

Research:

Reaching in clutter with whole arm tactile sensing

Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech

Wondergressive: Bionic Hand That Can Feel

Wondergressive: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Wondergressive: Kid Allergic to Everything Attends School

Wondergressive: Cyborg Lobsters Power a Digital Watch

Wikipedia: Metallo

Bicentennial Man