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Oh, that Google. Apart from collecting frightening amounts of your personal data and pushing to revamp your WiFi connection, the Mountain View tech-giant has recently rolled out a fleet of seven test vehicles that can drive themselves. Seriously.

And here’s the thing: these unmanned cars aren’t being tested in some underground Google facility somewhere, but out on the 101 freeway. Apparently, the Bay Area driving experience wasn’t quite harrowing enough.

Each automated Toyota Prius is controlled by an artificial intelligence that collects information about its surroundings from GPS data and many integrated sensors. There were also two technicians in each car, presumably to take control if anything went wrong and to terrify other drivers by gesturing with their hands off the wheel. Google reports that their vehicles successfully navigated many roads, both freeways and surface streets, with no accidents. (Apart from when one of the Google cars was rear-ended at a traffic light.)

But what’s the point? read more »