Old Quandary waxes on wheels | SummitDaily.com

Old Quandary waxes on wheels

Of The numerous test cars in the area, are any driverless?


While it may seem like there’s no one driving some of the SUVs roaming our streets, sadly there is someone at each and every wheel. Driverless cars are working their way through various streets across the country, but none have tested their mettle here … yet. Many companies do use Summit as a proving ground for their vehicles, but driverless cars haven’t quite earned the trust of their makers to venture here. The largest conglomeration of autonomous autos are in and around San Francisco. As Google’s headquarters are nearby, they have hired a fleet of drivers to, yes, drive the driverless cars. What else would you expect from the world of technology?

These drivers are the fail-safe for the world of advancement, metaphorically and literally pumping the brakes whenever necessary. Since these road warriors have only recently begun their trials on actual streets, it is understandable why they haven’t made their way to the monstrous mountain curves of Summit just yet. They have sprung up in the Houston area however, as well a couple other places.

At the University of Michigan test driving is taking place with a different fleet. However, these cars get their very own playground, called MCity. MCity is a special city designed on the North Campus of UM specifically as a test facility for technological developments that might need a little extra time before hitting the mean streets. After all the world can be a scary place for a robot out there on his own, just ask the ‘bot who was tasked with finding the friendliest city in the country (he quickly learned it’s not Philadelphia — shortly before his demise). So this test facility is just a little extra buffer to make sure these cars are ready for the world and that we’re ready for them. The false hamlet of MCity even comes complete with fire hydrants and benches, just to give a few extra obstacles — don’t worry the grass isn’t greener in MCity and they even have construction zones as well.

There have been some bumps in the road for these human-free four-wheelers as a number of accidents have occurred. However, Google is adamant that the majority of accidents involved someone rear-ending the driverless vehicle due to distracted drivers behind them. Only providing further evidence of the need for these self-driving machines, in a world where people just can’t be bothered. My only question: Can a goat drive a driverless car, any regulations on that yet?

Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to quandary@summitdaily.com

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