Sight to behold: a blind man behind wheel of self-driving car

Google self-driving car takes legally blind man over 'carefully programmed route'

I've poked fun at Google's self-driving car and remain skeptical about seeing such vehicles in widespread commercial use, but this video will melt most any skeptic's heart. Watch as Steve Mahan, who Google calls "self-driving car user #0000000001," experiences a trip to get a taco that legally blind people can otherwise only dream about.

Google explains on YouTube: "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."

Fair enough.

"Ninety-five percent of my vision is gone; I'm well past legal blindness," Mahan explains in the video. "You lose your timing in life, everything takes you much longer, there are some places you cannot go, there are some things you really cannot do. Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go the places I really want to go and need to go, when I need to do those things." 

At the end of video, when Mahan and the Googlers are back in his driveway, he turns to them and jokes: "You guys get out; I've got places I have to go. It's been nice."

I'll bet it was.

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