According to Chris Urmson who heads up Google’s driverless car program, the least reliable part of the car is … the driver!

Under what circumstances would you trust your life to a car that drives itself?

Who is he?:

Since 2009 Chris Umson has been the Director of Self-Driving Cars at Google.

Before joining Google, Umson was on the faculty of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. At CMU, his work focused on motion planning and perception for robotic vehicles. He was Director of Technology for the team that won the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge (For more information on DARPA, see Making Connections).

Why you should watch:

He shares fascinating footage that shows how the driverless  car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.

Discussion questions:

  1. We are a car oriented nation. Many young men and some women are “gear heads”. So, when you are driving, are you the least reliable part of the car? Explain your reasoning.
  2. Does the thought of riding in a driverless car make you anxious? Discuss.
  3. People do not pay attention (i.e. co-drive) a driverless car. What does that mean for the technology?
  4. Does our understanding about the scope of the injury and death problem help us to make sense of the cost of buying a self-driving car?
  5. Would you buy a self-driving car, if you had the money to buy any vehicle you wished? Why or why not?

Making connections:

What is the DARPA Challenge? See below:

Also check out the Internet of Things (IoT) that is shaping the future!  Here is a Ted X presentation that will amaze you:


How a driverless car sees the road with Chris Urmson


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