For years, the car of the future has been stuck going in circles. Although Google's converted self-driving Lexuses have hit the road in a few select areas, the company's custom-designed fully robotic self-driving car has been confined to the test track. But there's only so much that can be learned in a testing zone, even for an autonomous car. Announced today, Google's cars will like fledgling birds leave their nest, and travel forth onto the streets of Mountain View, California. And they'll do so very, very slowly. For their city driving, Google is capping the cars' speed at a neighborhood-friendly 25 mph.
In Paradise Valley, Arizona, prickly plants have been recruited to catch lawbreakers. According to a Fox 10 report, the town has hidden a set of license-plate readers in artificial cacti. Paradise Valley has been installing readers since February, but they haven't been as sneaky as these hidden cact-eye.
You want to know why we can't have nice things? People, that's why. Self-driving cars are just trundling along, minding their own business, when people decide to do something crazy. That's what Chris Urmson, the director of Google's self-driving car program, writes in a recent post at Backchannel.
A man in Fairfax, Virginia is suing the local police department for indiscriminately scanning citizens' license plates and storing that information in massive databases. Neal Harrison, who is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, says his car's license plate was unlawfully scanned twice in 2014.
TaxiBots and AutoVots only sound like toys that you played with in the 1980s that have been turned into a blockbuster movie franchise. They're actually autonomous vehicle concepts used in a study released in April by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Scientists wanted to plug virtual self-driving vehicles into a model of a real, live city using the data from a day of traffic and see what happened. It turns out, what happens is you free up a lot of paved space that can be used for recreation or buildings.