Making a Difference

My Personal and Professional views

Get Me to a Google Dealer – Or – Self Drive Saves Lives

with 2 comments

I am sure it has been said, but I have not said it here. We need autonomous, self-driving vehicles, now! Here are the reasons why:

Safety – Last I checked, In April 2014, Google announced 700,000 driverless miles with only 2 incidents.

1. Someone, A human no less, rear-ended a Google Car as a Stop Sign.
2. A driver of a Google car placed the car in manual mode so he could successfully crash it. Just kidding I doubt he meant to.
In either case no fault on the part of the car, just the humans.

In 2009 we lost 76,309 people to fatal auto accidents. In 1990 we lost 107,000. The emotional and economic impact of these losses is incalculable but we do know that auto accidents are the 5th largest killer in the US.

1. Money – While most people are staggered by the numbers being bandied about regarding the cost of self driving cars, $150,000-$500,000, these are prototype limited production numbers and they will come down rapidly when we near production. The more important economic factors are what we stand to save save:
2. Insurance, Progressive Insurance will already cut your rates if you agree to install an electronic data recorder (EDR) and drive like your DMV examiner. How low will insurance rates go when we have no more traffic accidents? In the UK insurance companies are using Telematics systems to allow drivers to pay by the mile, further reducing rates for low mileage drivers.
3. Fuel – While we should all look to cut our fuel costs by 80% by going electric, we could also save money by having the computer take over the pedal. Let’s face it, no more racing off the light to catch up with the attractive person in the cabriolet.
4. Time – What is your time worth? How much time do you waste commuting when you could be computing? The average commute in 2011 was 25 minutes. This equates to 100+ hours a year or years worth of work in 20 years of commuting. What would you give for an extra year?
a. The other thing to consider is what happens when all the cars on the highway are autonomous. If computers were doing the driving we could travel at higher speeds and closer together, thus doubling road capacity and virtually eliminating traffic jams.
5. Convenience – Isn’t having a chauffeur driven car the ultimate in luxury? Having one without an attitude surpasses even riding in the finest Maybach. Just think, you call your car and say, “Meet me out front in 5 minutes,” When you reach your destination you tell the car to go pick up the dry cleaning then go park and plug in until called.
a. How about picking up the kids from school?
b. Returning the baby-sitter home at midnight?
c. Picking up fresh bagels on Sunday morning.
d. Taking Grandma to her hair appointment.
e. I could go on forever.

Now before you think I have completely abandoned the thrill of driving let me say I am an avid car nut and I have owned over 30 cars ranging from T-Birds and Mustangs to Porsche’s and Jags. I love cars. I just think that in the future we should draw the line between driving for fun and going to work.

Is this so hard?

My call to action is for everyone to embrace what Google, MobileEye and the major car companies are doing, not just to make a buck, but also to fundamentally impact our planets environment, the lives or our loved ones and our long-term quality of life and peace of mind.

I intend to purchase the first commercially available self-driving car. I will face-time you from the passenger seat and tell you how it is.


Reuters: Google Car:

Killer Commute




Written by Jim McNiel

May 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

2 Responses

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  1. This is incredible to see how Google progressed within 1 year about their program “Google self-driving car project”. This is now not anymore, a concept with technical tests using a Toyota cars, as it was last year, with Prius or Lexus RX; this is not anymore a technical solution with engineers embedded in these cars, checking the issues of the software developed.

    This concept allows Google to propose a completely automatized car without any steering wheel nor any pedals of acceleration or brake nor any engineer embedded in the car.

    A new model of usage born

    These cars will not be sold by Google; the cost of cars remains too expensive from now; some rumors speaks about a price of 1 million of dollars for the first Google cars, if we integrate manufacturing costs and R&D costs included; and the running costs of these cars is unknown for the moment; for sure, limited people could buy these cars if they would be allowed to buy them.

    These cars will be firstly rented by Google to replace your car to go to supermarket, to go to airport or to go some meetings in your town. This model reinvent the usage of transports.

    If you are interested, I have posted an article on this incredible & amazing Google Car 2.0 that you can read here:


    June 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    • These cars will be sold by Google only they may initially be sold to Municipalities. The most expensive element is the Laser Radar system but this will come down when in production. Also MobileEye and other vision systems will help to bring down price.
      What I’d like to see Google do is to make cars available first to people who cannot drive, the visually impaired and others could have a complete change of life with a self driving car. Thank you for your comment

      Jim McNiel

      June 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

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