Apple has been getting a lot of press recently, and rightly so; hopefully this weekend I will be able to get my hands on a new iPhone to review it and the new iOS 6.

But until then, I want to talk about something truly revolutionary: the self-driving car. Now, this isn't directly on the horizon, like the

Advertisement

is, but it is also very likely an inevitability.

, Google has been working on creating a self-driving car. They have tested more than 300,000 miles in the cars, first on their own course, and more recently on public roads. They have only had one crash, and they blame that accident on human error.

, and

it calls "super-cruise."

In fact, they say that because human error accounts for the vast majority of vehicle crashes, the use of self-driving cars would dramatically reduce the number of accidents. They also claim that, should a large enough percentage of cars be computer-driven, the gridlock that so often plagues rush-hour and inner-city traffic would be all but eliminated. Computers react faster, and don't slow to gawk at incidents on the side of the road, nor do they slow down too much when the vehicle in front of them brakes. Those two things are the main

, and putting the work on the side of a computer would sharply decrease the number of these events.

, that mandates that by 2015 to have regulations in place that will take into account the use of self-driving cars by members of the public. Obviously, it will take a while for the rest of the country to catch up (

- last June). I expect the location of Google's headquarters has something to do with the legalization of the concept so soon. And, I expect, it is only a matter of time, most likely, before federal legislation takes over to legislate and regulate the use of cars like this. Wired went so far as to release an

saying we won't even need driver's licenses by 2040.

This would be a wonderful thing for me. As I said before, I am fascinated by the technology that goes into the things we use every day, such as cars or phones or computers, and that they are so advanced and we never really consider how much so. But while I am fascinated by the technology at use in cars, I do not enjoy the act of driving. I find it tedious, and I have occasion to drive to southwest Virginia on a fairly regular basis. As a result, I am often bored and a bit unhappy during my drives. This is a recipe for mistakes. In addition, I could be productive during that time.

The

it took people an average of a bit under half an hour to get to work each day. That's the better part of an hour, counting both ways, that people on average spend in the cars, at a minimum each day. Think about what you could get done during that commute time each day. I would love this, because I could "drive" while I read or take a nap or just relax, and not have to concern myself with driving.

Now, as great as this would be, and as much as I would enjoy this ability, it is important to note that self-driving cars aren't the first thing someone has thought of to revolutionize our driving experience. Back in the '60s, this guy had the pretty cool, if way out-there idea of having our cars float in wide grooves on the ground, and travel at speeds of up to 1,500 mph.

. Obviously, this didn't pan out, which I think is a good thing for deer everywhere.

Advertisement

But people have had revolutionary ideas before that didn't really work out in practice. And there are potential risks involved with having a computer control everything your cars does,

. But there is also a great deal of potential here, for productivity, for travel times, and for general sanity. There wouldn't be as much road rage, after all, if no one is actually driving.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement