Google Car  (Source: Washington Post)
Google has done it. Engineers and employees at Google have documented a solo trip with a blind man and a self-driving car.

Steve Mahan could be the first ever blind man to take a solo trip around Austin, Texas in a autonomous car. The driverless car had no steering wheel or gas/brake pedals. Although this car was worked on for many years by Google engineers and employees, the passenger was a non-Google employee.

Photo Source: Washington Post
According to Google engineer Nathaniel Fairfield, Google has had this technology around for a decade. During that time, Google confirmed that they had logged more than 2 million miles on public road while testing its vehicles. Still, it is understandable that they had to do six months more of scrutinizing before actually allowing a passenger to ride solo, especially a blind one.

Autonomous driving is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated advances for the automotive industry. It will certainly be a huge step forward in solving a wide variety of transportation issues.

The most important benefit of autonomous driving is the fact that is can save lives. Will driverless cars completely stop traffic fatalities? Probably not.  However, we can speculate that there would be less traffic related deaths than we currently have with human-driven cars.

Fatal accidents are on the rise in the United States and there seems to be no end in sight as Americans drive more and more miles on the highways.

Check out these stats:
1.    The National Safety Council estimated that 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million people were injured on U.S. roads in 2015. (See full report)
2.    A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2016 shows that an estimated 17,775 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. (See full report)
3.    The U.S. Department of Transpiration states earlier this year that Americans drove 1.58 trillion miles through June. (See full report)
When safe driving autonomous vehicles become the norm, sign me up.  I wouldn’t mind a break.

Sources: MSN, National Safety Council, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

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