If you're too lazy to learn driving then your big day will come in five years. Google's co-founder Sergey Brin has hinted at when we'll be able to lay our hands on the autonomous cars. The co-founder of the search giant said that we 'can count on one hand the number of years it will take before ordinary people can experience this.' The cirumstances where he made this statement were at least not less important: California has signed the SB 1298 bill regulating the use of the driverless cars in the Golden State.
Now, California will be among the three US states that have legalized the use of the autonomous cars, along with Nevada and Florida. SB 1298 will now allow the Google engineers start beta-testing of the cars on a larger scale than before. As of today, the hi-tech automobiles by Google have put more than 300,000 miles behind them without a single accident.
Brin has also shared his visions of how the traffic will be affected when the driverless cars finally hit the market:
The fact is that on a normally operating highway, cars take up a very small fraction of the space ... Self-driving cars can actually 'chain together' and use the highways more efficiently, potentially eradicating congestion.
In other words, the traffic consisting solely of autonomous cars will stay relatively fast-moving even where the conventional human-driven autos would be stuck in a grandiose jam. On the other hand, it is still unclear whether the Google cars will be optimizing the occupied highway space in a combined automated and human-controlled traffic. Potential risks would be rather high in that case because it's hard to predict how you would react to a driverless car nuzzling you in the middle of a jam.
Another potential area where the upcoming car could be applied is serving people who can't or are not allowed to drive now. This definition isn't restricted to people with disabilities. Theoretically, in five years you'll be allowed to fire a slug at your friend's birthday even if you come by your car:
There are many, many people who are underserved by our transportation today. The blind... some people are too young, some people are too old, sometimes we're too intoxicated.
While the picture of a city where the majority of cars in traffic will be self-driving is still a slightly scary sci-fi idea for the most us, looks like it's getting serious. So don't panic if you see a driverless car in you rearview mirrow somewhere in San-Francisco: it's just the future coming closer.