CNET News Video
Inside Scoop: Baby, you can ride my self-driving carWhat is it like to ride around busy city streets in one of Google's self-driving cars? CNET's Sumi Das and Seth Rosenblatt give us the Inside Scoop after they test ride the cars in Mountain View, Calif.
[MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to Inside Scoop, I'm Sumi Das. Joining me is Seth Rosenblatt, senior writer for Sena. Seth, thanks for being with us. Thank you Sumi.>>Okay, forgot a little bit of set up here. So imagine. Never having to worry about whether or not you're going over the speed limit or having to look for a parking space. That is part of the promise of self-driving cars. And today, Google, which has been working on a self-driving car project Yep. For a number of years now, Yep. Gave a handful of lucky people the opportunity to ride in one of these autonomous vehicles. Seth was one of those lucky people. Yes indeed. I was actually one of those lucky people as well. What were your thoughts? It was, you know it was unremarkably remarkable. Right. You know like we were talking about earlier. The most amazing thing to me was this moment where the car is driving along, there's a bicyclist in the bicycle lane just ahead of the car. And the car sort of nudges over just a little bit in its own lane, anticipating that the bicyclist might need some extra room. Mm-hm. Incredible. I mean, human drivers don't do that. Yeah, the car that I was in did the same thing, except a bus was. Hm. Taking up the entire lane next to us. Uh-huh. And so, they refer to it as nudging. Yeah. They also do something, the cars also do something really cool called. Blind spotting. Uh-huh. Which is they actively make sure that they don't linger and stay in other car's blind spots. Right. We check our own blind spots. Mm-hm. But we're not used to, as drivers, thinking about whether or not we're in somebody else's blind spot. It, it, it's a, it's a very unusual thing and. Having the self driving car be safer than the human driver, I think, appeals to a lot of people.>>Um, one of the, there are some limitations, right?>>Mm-hm absolutely.>> And one of them is you may have noticed this, as we are pulling out of the parking lot here the autonomous driving feature is not engaged. It's engaged outside of the parking lot because the car can't quite handle parking lots yet.>>Not quite yet. And, and one of the interesting limitations about the car is that Google is redoing their entire mapping system. So Google Maps, which you know and love for navigation, is not being used in these vehicles. Oh. They're creating entirely new maps, because these maps have in them manmade objects such as traffic lights and stop signs. And it's not just like that there's a traffic light Speed limits, too. Speed limits, huh, it's not just that there's a traffic light in the map, it actually can tell you how high the traffic light is above the ground Mm hm. Because as the car approaches it, it needs to know where to continuously look. For the red, or yellow, or green circle. Tell us what it looks like inside. Cuz we do see that obviously, there's the lightar and the camera, and the radar. Sure. And you see that, that spinning movement, Yes. That tells you it's scanning the environment. Yes. At a very high rate. But inside the car, you see a couple of different things. So you mentioned the computer,. Right, so the co-driver has a laptop sitting on his or her lap. And it has a a special L.D.A. R. generated map of the area. And so you can see vehicles and pedestrians and basically everything that's not you shows up as a red box or rectangle. You show up as a green box. And it's really sort of interesting seeing the world pass by in real time in this wire frame scenario. There's also built into the car is the kill switch. Which allows the driver or the co-driver to disable the autonomous driving instantaneously. And I'm sure in your ride, you must have experienced this, every once in a while the car. Would kind of make an announcement. Crosswalk, or manual engage. [CROSSTALK] You know, that act, that, that actually only happened once or twice except for the manual engage. Right. You know, it was, it, it, again, it was so. Unremarkable, it was the most perfect, short little drive I've ever taken. It was just a ride, right? Yeah. But we shouldn't get too excited about this because. It's going to be awhile. We don't know when it's going to show up. Yeah. And has Google mentioned anything about whether or not you know this is going to make it to market at a definitive time in the future? They have a time line, they want to see it in, in the road, on the road somewhere by 2017. So we're, it's only another three years for us. But when you think about the fact that they've been doing this for five years. That's really amazing. So, this has been, you know, by the time we get to 2017 it'll have been an eight year project. They've only just now, just recently started doing city road testing. Which, a year ago, they weren't doing. A year, up until a year ago, it'd been really freeway only testing. So this is something that's taking them a a really long time to perfect. Well. When you're. [LAUGH] Asking people to trust a car. Yeah. With your life and family's lives, I, I can understand why they wanna perfect it, right? I'm not complaining. Yeah. Seth, thanks so much. Thank you, Su. For Inside Scoop, I'm Sumi Das, thanks for watching. [MUSIC]