Google has long had a thing for cars -- an early promotional picture shows the company founders driving a Toyota Prius. Now, that Prius will drive them.
Auto manufacturers are beginning to embrace Google's idea of a driverless car
and figuring out how they can turn a future profit.
"Once we have a car that will never crash, why don't we let it drive?" Nady Boules, General Motors' director of autonomous technology development told the San Jose Mercury News.
But not everyone embraces the idea, especially those who might lose their jobs to a robot, such as long-haul truck drivers. Part of Boules' job is to win over the public and have them place their faith in a machine rather than themselves.
Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab, said that drivers would be better off with robot help rather than relying on it completely. However, the cost right now appears to be the most inhibiting factor.
A recent poll showed that more than a third of respondents were interested in robot-driven cars, but only 20 percent would buy it at $3,000. However the technology itself is much more expensive -- $70,000 for the system.
Aside from cost, there's also the issue of liability -- should there always be a driver behind the wheel just in case? And what if there is an accident by a driverless car, who is at fault, the driver or the manufacturer? Those questions have yet to be answered.
We also don't know how much people will accept turning over their lives to a robot-driven car. There obviously has to be several more decades of testing to put these cars in the hands of consumers.