Monday, October 11, 2010

The Little Guys Never Win or Curse You Google!

One of Google's cars, from a Times article
So, I'm feeling slightly dismayed right now. I just read that Google's been working on autonomous cars. A couple things about that:

1)  They've been driving them in traffic on public roads. That's illegal under current law, even if you've "briefed local police" about your work. Sure, they have people behind the wheel, ready to take over when the cars screw up—and they do. No matter how awesome your database and software, the cars are still half-blind. (They use basically the same sensors we do at Autonomous Solutions, so I know how great the data is.)

Wouldn't it be nice to have the weight of Google behind you when you want to try something like that? We couldn't even get insurance to drive our automated five-ton manually on public roads because the insurers were too skittish. I wonder who's insuring Google's unmanned vehicles, and if they have any idea what to charge.

2)  Wouldn't it be nice to have virtually unlimited financial resources? I'm just feeling sorry for myself. ASI has operated without external financing for its entire ten years. The only money we have to work on research and development is what's left over from actually selling robotic vehicles and services. Maybe it's not the best way to operate, but I'm not the boss. I'm a little jealous that Google's team can afford to pay fifteen engineers plus support staff and buy cars and Velodynes (which cost more than cars) without having to worry about making a penny of profit.

ASI's dev vehicle doing some unmanned following.
Yeah, and our DARPA Urban Challenge team consisted of 2.5 engineers, and we still did pretty well. *sigh* Wouldn't it be nice to have money? The little guys never win in real life.

Which brings up NON-real life, which means the book I'm going to write next! See, the news about Google has given me a flash of inspiration about my bad guys. *rubs hands and giggles gleefully* No, I'm not going to write a thinly-veiled demonization of a business rival! I mean, it's still pretty cool what Google's doing, right? It doesn't make them evil—right? (I'm suddenly aware that Google owns Blogger.)

More later! Stay tuned! It's gonna be good.

Mwah ha ha ha ha!

2 comments:

  1. Ben you crack me up! And I'm just guessing what you're going to talk to me about tonight.... this could be good!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Um... wow. I think maybe we should all be worried.

    ReplyDelete