Tapping the brakes on Google's self-driving car

From the Wouldn't It Be Great Department ...

The Wright brothers initiated powered flight in 1903, the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford's assembly line in 1908, and yet there is still no flying car dealership where I live.

In other words, cars will drive themselves before pigs fly, just not much before.

Hope I'm wrong, though, because my heart is with this reader of Talking Points Memo who salivates over the latest news coverage about Google's experimentation with self-driving cars: "I can only hope this will happen before I die. I've always thought that the highway system would be so much better if people weren't the ones operating the vehicles. No slow cars, no speed-up-slow-down, no changing lanes every two minutes, nobody slowing down to look at a car crash... Sounds nice."

The fellow didn't leave his age, but I'm 53. ... And I should be so lucky.

From that TPM story:

Robotic cars that can drive themselves could alleviate modern society's growing crisis in transportation by making more efficient use of highways, said Sebastian Thrun, a distinguished scientist at Google and a Stanford University professor.

Thrun's idea is that robotic cars equipped with a sophisticated array of sensors, cameras, mapping databases and massive computing power could more accurately navigate roads and help people to drive closer together without crashing.

Google first made public its interest in autonomous automotives back in October, and has even gone so far as to seek legislative permission for such vehicles in Nevada.

Nevada, where you can bet on anything.

Again, don't get me wrong, there will be self-driving cars ... someday. As for when, I believe it was a character in Shakespeare's Henry VI who nailed that question: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

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