Screencap from AutoNOMOS Labs self-driving taxiEnlarge Photo
Last week, Google shared its new self-driving cars with the world, and Android acolytes said that it was good. Now Apple fanboys have cause to celebrate -- in their cool, minimalist way, of course -- thanks to some very enterprising folks from AutoNOMOS Labs at Freie University in Berlin. They've developed their own self-driving car, the difference being that theirs can be controlled by an iPad.
The car is called "Made in Germany". It's a modified Volkswagen Passat, outfitted with a fair (but not overwhelming) amount of laser scanners, GPS systems, and other high-tech gadgetry. It functions as a taxi: eager passengers crack open an app on their iPad, indicate that they'd like to be picked up, and send the taxi their location. Computers do the rest:
Although the control freak in us is a little nervous about relinquishing control to a car that looks to have the driving skills of your average 9th grader, we have to admit, the possibilities this represents are pretty cool. Whether the Freie/AutoNOMOS car would be street legal in the U.S. -- as Google's car is -- is another matter; the computers driving Google's car can be overridden, but there's no indication that that's the case here.
This technology follows not long after another breakthrough from AutoNOMOS: a car you can steer with your eyes. That could be a great leap forward for the physically impaired, of course, but if you think texting and driving is dangerous now...