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Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Autobots!

In the movie “Transformers,” the self-driving cars that transform into giant robots are called Autonomous Robotic Organisms, or “Autobots” for short. It seems that our friends at Google have given us an autonomous vehicle that drives itself just like in the movie. Ok, it doesn’t transform but I’m sure they’re working on that.

Google says that the car has been driven for 200,000 miles without an accident. It’s outfitted with video cameras, radio sensors, and lasers to help it navigate city streets and will allow a driver-side passenger to take control if he/she so desires.

What does this mean? Will the roads truly be safer with robot cars driving instead of people? Will speeding ticket become a thing of the past? Or valet parking for that matter? Will our personal Autobots be able to pay for our parking wirelessly, drop us off in front of the building or venue, and then proceed to the parking deck on their own?

Let’s face it: we’ve had cars that park themselves for a few years now and they haven’t exactly changed the world, so only time will tell if these vehicles will be practical enough to catch on. If they do, they could affect everything from parking to auto insurance to taxi cabs…and they may be able to take out a few Decepticons as well.

About Frank L. Giles

Frank L. Giles is senior project manager at Lanier Parking Solutions and serves on the IPI Advisory Council, Conference Program Committee, and Safety/Security Committee.


  1. Dethra says:

    I had no idea Google had done this. Any idea on when these cars will come to market and how long the tests have been going on. I always thought self-parking cars would change the world, especially for a self proclaimed horrible parallell parker (such as myself) but you are correct, there has been no noted differencein driving/parking trends. I will now be on the look out for these cars and for any noted trends in driver safety as a result. Thanks.

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