California to become the engine of the driverless revolution

We don’t know whether the Champagne corks will be flying at Google when California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill to legalize autonomous cars which was almost unanimously approved by the legislature on Wednesday. But Google’s intense lobbying efforts which started in Nevada have paid off: Now the internet giant is a big step closer to introduce autonomous cars on its home turf.

California is almost perfect for the introduction of autonomous cars. It is large and diverse enough to allow testing in almost all environments. There are regions  with almost optimal weather conditions such as Southern California (snow being very unlikely except in the mountains). This is where Google could launch their first commercial trials for car-sharing, taxi or truck/logistics services.

The second great asset of California is its hotbed of innovation and technology in Silicon Valley which Google is part of and which it profits from. But driverless technology could give another boost to the valley and lead to many new products and services based on autonomous technology. When driverless technology becomes the next big thing, Silicon Valley will be at the center.

Driverless cars are a golden opportunity for the ‘Golden State’. The legislature was right to ignore the objections from the auto industry (which is worried about their business model).

One thought on “California to become the engine of the driverless revolution

  1. It’s a car that incorporates a “temporary auto pilot” (TAP) that can drive at up to 80 mph. The car will steer wiihtn lanes, avoid and pass other cars, and obey speed limits. Unlike a fully driverless car, the temporary auto pilot is for highways only and can’t navigate town and city streets; it requires a human observer to watch for emergency situations. But it should greatly reduce accidents due to distracted driving. he actual cost of the hardware and software required for TAP is probably low–less than $1,000 per vehicle for any auto that already has electronic steering, braking, and an automatic transmission. What’s one kilo for a small car, it’s a bargain. No doubt the automakers will put these in the expensive cars first then showcase them to cheaper cars the way they’ve done with nearly any automobile tech through history. Cruise control / adaptive cruise control is more used in autos. Putting them in cheap cars is only a thousand dollar option, again negligible. Once 20 percent of the American auto fleet has adaptive cruising in use, we will see traffic congestion cut in half with big fuel savings with that traffic. Direct injection, once only found in luxury cars engine is more available in cheaper cars. Eventually they will all but replace traditional fuel injection systems just like fuel injectors replaced the need for carburetors and fuel economy will improve with direct injection.