Watch a Blind Man Take Google’s Self-Driving Car for a Spin

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 29 2012 12:14 PM

Watch a Blind Man Take Google’s Self-Driving Car for a Spin

It is increasingly clear that self-driving cars will soon be a reality. Nevada appears to be close to licensing the first autonomous car for testing on public roads, for instance.  

Much has been written about how self-driving cars may ease traffic and solve the texting-while-behind-the-wheel problem. But there’s another benefit: Such autos will allow people previously unable to drive to become more independent. In the video below, Steve Mahan, who is 95 percent blind, takes a Google self-driving car for a spin.

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According to the video description, the trip to Taco Bell traveled “a carefully programmed route. … We organized this test as a technical experiment, but we think it's also a promising look at what autonomous technology may one day deliver if rigorous technology and safety standards can be met.”

Mahan is the CEO and executive director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center in California. Of course, he has no driver's license, so "Google enlisted the aid of Sergeant Troy Hoefling with the Morgan Hill Police Department to accompany the drive," Fox News reports.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies.