Did you hear? Self-driving cars are here! Or at least that’s what the headlines suggested last week, as Tesla released an update for their pricey cars to enable a new “autopilot” system. As it turns out, the new system isn’t new – but the deployment is. And, unfortunately, that’s what makes it so dangerous. Tesla is setting expectations for their “autopilot” system much higher than what the car can actually do – and someone is probably going to get killed.
Last week, I ran across an article at Engadget about a new crowd-funded product that the tech world is excited about. Thanks to the magic of cookies, the product has followed me to my Facebook timeline in the form of an ad, which reminded me to write this post.
They’re talking about Navdy, a product that makes you “feel like you’re driving in the future,” or at least a future where distracted driving is taken to new and exciting frontiers.
What the product does is project information from your phone onto your windshield. Some of that information is relevant to driving, such as map navigation, and possibly in the future parking information from SF Park. The rest? Not so much.
The tech world was lit up yesterday by Google’s $1 billion (with a b!) purchase of an Israeli app company called Waze.
Never heard of them? I hadn’t either. But what the company does is run a phone application that is supposed to save you time on your driving trips. What it does is combine GPS map information with real-time updates by users.
Think of Waze as the “wisdom of crowds” meets digital maps. “Join
other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info,
saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute,” Waze says
on its website. The goal? “To outsmart traffic and get everyone the
best route to work and back, every day.” Waze users receive mobile
alerts about traffic hazards based on their location Time Magazine.
Tesla Motors is a small (but growing) automaker based in California that designs and sells only electric vehicles. Their Roadster model is already on sale, and they are ramping up production for the 2012 release of their “Model S” which will be a Sedan.
This past weekend, Tesla held an event at their Fremont plant to show the people who put down $5,000 for a preorder what their 2012 vehicle will look like.
I am interested in the move towards electric cars because of what it means for the quality of our air. As you may know, I live in Fresno, which may be named the dirtiest air in the country for the year, or maybe next. An exciting milestone for sure. We’re number 1!