Self-Driving Cars are Coming Soon, and Some are Already Unimpressed

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Not too long ago, movies and television shows were making films and series based in what was then a distant future. To them, the year 2000 was due to herald a time of flying cars, materializing food and space colonization. In those terms, over the last 50 years, progress has been a bit slow. Finally, this week, consumers heard the first news that we are in fact entering that future we were promised long ago as car makers ran the first test drives of their soon to be released autonomous vehicles. While the idea of a self-driving vehicle doesn’t come close to our expectation of hover transportation, it should however be considered a step in that direction.

Still, even before Nissan’s test drive and Ford’s previews were announced, Wired published an article which states that people are not as impressed as you would think they would be. The article, which covers a study conducted by U.S. audit and advisory firm KPMG, in which a diverse group of drivers from both coasts and in between were polled regarding which company they would rather buy a self driving car from – Google or an actual automaker.

The results pointed to Google, which is not exactly surprising when you put into context the place that Google and all of it’s products occupies in consumers daily lives. With the advent and success of the Chromebook, Google Glass and Google phone, the company seems well equipped to handle it’s customer’s needs and address their desires in both the digital and physical realms and in that aspect, a Google-branded car isn’t that far away from reality.

What was surprising was the discovery that for some, the self-driving car is no more impressive than a GPS system or remote ignition. In fact, according to Gary Silberg, KPMG auto expert and author of the report, to drivers of high end luxury vehicles such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the autonomous driving features are “already accustomed to high-tech bells and whistles, so adding a ‘self-driving package’ is just another option.” These drivers already have access to self -parking vehicles as well as voice commands for many actions they perform in their cars, the self-driving option would really be just another thing.

Some drivers, especially those who derive pleasure from driving, are actually even weary of the technology at all. Silberg explains that while “self-driving cars will be profoundly disruptive to the traditional automotive ecosystem” most people were able to come around to the idea of a self-driving car given that the feature can be turned on and off, a cry which manufacturers seem to be listening to.

At any rate, the day of the self-driving car is fast approaching, and while manufacturers are racing to get their autonomous vehicles on the roads first, there are still many changes to our roads and driving habits that will need to take place before they become a commonplace sight. For now, the question remains whether Google will be jumping into the game on their own, or if we’ll soon be seeing a Google feature-loaded Audi (or something of the sort) that is driven and controlled by your Google glass.

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Category: Technology