I know there are many who look forward to the days when all cars are self-driving.
These are people who seem to believe that technology can not only solve every problem, but actually make life better. Another description for these people is, well, Prius drivers.
It is surely no coincidence that Google’s self-driving car experiment seems to be performed exclusively on the exclusive car of the self-righteous. Indeed, one Prius owner in my neighborhood actually has the license plate “Smug Car.” I am quite serious about this.
So I bring fine news to those who are intrigued by the idea of shirking responsibility and still being behind the wheel: there’s a self-driving car from BMW.
I stumbled onto this recent YouTube video–thanks to my entirely irregular reading of Geekologie–in which real BMW engineers show that they, too, have cars that drive themselves.
Using, radar, cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonics, these cars still require that the driver not be drunk. For he or she must be ready to take over the driving at any moment.
However, this is a beautiful BMW 5 series that, though of course it still represents a certain level of smugness, also offers something a little more stylish than the Prius.
BMW says that its biggest challenge was to develop algorithms that can anticipate spontaneous events that might occur in traffic. You know, like a Prius suddenly decelerating in front of you up a hill.
The car sticks to all speed limits–which still makes it fun on the autobahn–but was primarily developed to create better technological systems.
I wonder whether, if there was ever a race for self-driving supremacy, more people would trust Google’s technology or BMW’s.