Google has produced an automobile that drives itself, but just how practical is it? Practical enough that authorities in Nevada have granted it a license for road testing.
As long as there are at least two people in the car during the tests, it's street-legal.
The vehicles use sophisticated radar, GPS systems and other high-tech gear to accelerate, brake and make turns. Drivers can take control at any time by turning the wheel or stepping on the brake.
In the video below, Google demonstrated how a legally blind “driver” could take the car for a spin.
Why have a car that drives itself? Giving mobility to a visually impaired person is one reason. But safety is also a factor. Self-driving cars should be safer, in theory at least, and less vulnerable to human errors.
With the Baby Boom generation moving into their senior years, that could well be a factor, and allow older drivers to keep driving longer than they might if they had to rely solely on their own skills.
There are already cars that parallel park themselves. Google says it's cars just taken the concept farther. Google engineers say they hope to begin mass-producing these vehicles within a few years.