The phrase “getting behind the wheel” will be a thing of the past if Google has its way, as the company expects to put people in self-driving cars within two to five years.
Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, said it would revolutionize automobile travel.
“Imagine never losing someone in a traffic accident again,” he said in an online video. “Imagine cities where parking garages aren’t there, where that land has been turned into homes or turned into parks. It’s going to be an exciting place.”
In preparation for the new technology, 17 states have discussed legislation permitting autonomic vehicles on the roads. North Carolina is not one of these states, but it has had discussions about the inevitable change.
“We very much want to establish an open dialogue and partnership with autonomous vehicle manufacturers to make sure that we’re building a road network that will support the autonomous vehicle operations five years from now,” said Kelly Thomas, the N.C. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
UNC freshman Erik Koehler said he is ready to embrace this new reality.
“I would trust driverless cars on a daily basis,” said Koehler. “Computers are much more reliable and predictable than people, so I’d feel more comfortable with a computer driving than with a person.”
But sophomore Tiffany Philbeck said she finds it difficult to trust current technology in cars and can’t see herself depending on an autonomous vehicle.
“My grandmother’s cruise control claims that it can sense when a car is in front of you and it will decelerate for you, but I still always brake just in case,” Philbeck said. “I can’t even trust that, so no way would I trust an entire car to drive for me.”