This is so cool. I can hardly wait for the snow capable car. And deer-dodging. Oh, and the heaved-up dirt road navigation. I’m sure there are lots more variables for driving conditions. Which makes me a little skeptical on the effective dates. But really, it will just be like internet availability, or cell phone towers, or anything else. First usable by the masses in California and big cities, and maybe someday out here in the sticks. Still waiting on those internet tubes to get here. But on the bright side, cell phone service areas are still steadily improving.
Google’s self-driving car project began in 2009. The vehicle’s early life was confined almost entirely to California highways. Hundreds of thousands of test miles later, the car more or less has mastered the art — rather, the computer science — of staying in its lane and keeping its speed. So about a year and a half ago, Google’s team shifted focus from the predictable sweep of freeways to the unpredictable maze of city streets. I was invited along as the first journalist to witness how the car is handling its new urban lifestyle.