Google’s self-driving car takes blind man to Taco Bell

google-drive-taco-bell

Mentioned on Google’s official Google+ account recently, the development team behind the company’s self-driving automobile showed off a YouTube video detailing the journey of Steve Mahan. Mahan, CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, is a legally blind resident of Morgan Hill, California. Since Google employees have tested the self-driving Toyota Prius for more than 200,000 miles, company officials felt confident of Mahan’s safety during an outing to a fast food restaurant as well as a stop to pick up some dry cleaning. The self-driving car did make headlines during August 2011 when the vehicle rear-ended another Prius, but that accident was attributed to human error. The computer-operated vehicle took Mahan through the drive-through at Taco Bell using technology like radar sensors and video cameras equipped on the vehicle.

mahan-google-carWithout a driver’s license, Google had to get permission from the local police department to allow Mahan to sit in the driver’s seat while the vehicle was in motion. The Morgan Hill Police Department placed Sergeant Troy Hoefling in the car with Mahan for the duration of the trip in order to avoid any legal issues. 

In the video, Mahan states “95 percent of my vision is gone. I’m well past legally blind. You lose your timing in life; everything takes you much longer. There are some places that you cannot go. There are some things that you really cannot do. Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things.

While this technology is likely many years away from becoming mainstream among consumers, Google has accomplished small steps towards establishing regulations that will allow self-driving vehicles on the road. During February 2012, Nevada became the first state to approve the use of self-driving vehicles on the roadways. Nevada state officials are also working on creating licensing procedures to allow car manufacturers to test cars within the state. Nevada residents will be able to recognize these self-driving cars by the color of the license plate.

Smart Home

Kroger supermarket chain tests driverless grocery deliveries in Arizona

Kroger and autonomous delivery innovator Nuro began a pilot program in Scottdale, Arizona, for grocery home deliveries with Prius cars to test the self-driving concept. The first tests do not use the purpose-built Nuro vehicle.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in August, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Dark Tourist’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Blue Valentine’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Cars

Live out your Steve McQueen fantasies with this souped-up Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford tuner Steeda teamed up with Chad McQueen, son of Steve McQueen to create the ultimate 'Bullitt' tribute car. It's an upgraded version of the recently launched 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Cars

Volvo leverages the power of software to build more dynamic cars

Volvo has asked sister company Polestar to make its cars more dynamic to drive through a software update. Offered at an extra cost, the AWD optimization upgrade sends more power to the rear wheels when the driver turns on dynamic mode.
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Cars

Can BMW’s rebooted 3 Series regain gold standard for sport sedans?

The BMW 3 Series lost its way in 2012; once the gold standard in the sport sedan segment, it disappointed by not living up to BMW's promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine. Can the new model right those wrongs?
Cars

Learn how Ford trains the test drivers who develop its hottest performance cars

Out of 11,000 Ford test drivers, only about 20 have achieved the elite "tier-four" status that qualifies them to work on performance cars. Here's how those drivers earn their stripes.
Cars

Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet strikes as quickly as its venomous namesake

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is a purpose-built drag racer that will run the quarter mile in around eight seconds, according to Ford. It will be as rare as it is quick, with just 68 cars planned.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.
Cars

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.