Google's self-driving car is programmed to speed, just like you

The thought of self driving cars is pretty neat — unless it's a perfectly driving shaming machine that will only make you feel like a scofflaw all the time. Google's offering is going to emulate you, though, not obey the letter of the law. A Google engineer today said that will even extend to casual speeding when appropriate.

The team behind the autonomous car, which was born of Google's X Labs, were giving an extended look at the car to Reuters. Engineer Dmitri Dolgov was speaking on the safety of an autonomous car on the road with actual human drivers. "Thousands and thousands of people are killed in car accidents every year" he said.

In at least not contributing to that problem, Google's autonomous cars will run at roughly ten miles over the speed limit when necessary. It's important to note the small car isn't built for speed, though — it's a people mover, plain and simple.

A neat concession to make for the safe of safety, it also begs a lot of questions. If an accident occurs, who is liable when the speed isn't controlled by the passengers in lieu of a driver? Will the vehicle appreciate changes in traffic or speeds the same as we do?

Google's concept is neat, but it's a long way from something we might see on a day-to-day basis. Google has already ruffled feathers among the automobile manufacturing elite, so gaining necessary partnerships might be troublesome. Still, a smiling, speeding bubble-car that drives itself is endearing on at least the most basic level, right?

Source: Reuters