Driverless things

Gary Leach bangfish at
Tue Jan 8 22:23:27 CET 2008


> "Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination —  
> could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp.  
> executives say. "
> I instantly got this Uncle Scrooge story 
> story.php?c=I+TL++524-A on my mind. Scarpa and Barosso envisioned  
> driverless cars for Scrooge's factory already in 1965. One of my  
> favorite stories when I was kid.

Driverless cars are one of those Great Ideas that have defied real- 
life realization for decades. Easy to understand, since it was never  
just about the technology, but the operating conditions the  
technology had to address. Even so, like flying cars, it's a notion  
that continues to draw interest. Now that we have the first consumer- 
level cars with self-parking systems (that may or may not work quite  
as advertised), maybe we're genuinely a step closer to such a thing.

Another thing that's happened is the fascinating advancements in  
humanoid robotic design. I used to scoff at the idea that the Gyro  
Gearlooses of the world would ever be able to make a functional robot  
that resembled a human being, and for many years my scoffing seemed  
on target. But in the last decade or so, I've been amazed at what's  
been done in this area. (Just for example: 
watch?v=kKHtEt_x6FI) In fact, it's beginning to make me nervous :-)

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