Google Self-Driving Car Makes a Trip to Lake Tahoe

    April 26, 2012

In case you misplaced the self-awareness that working at Google will always be cooler than your job, Sebastian Thrun, Google Fellow and Vice President, took a moment to remind you today and uploaded a photo to his Google+ account announcing a successful trip to Lake Tahoe via one of those zany self-driving cars that Google’s been teasing us with.

He uploaded the following picture of the car’s dashboard with the message, “Just drove to Lake Tahoe in a self driving Lexus. It was amazing. So relaxing. I have done this trip perhaps 100 times but this time it was different. Magical..” Thus far, apart from the video of a blind man test-driving Google’s car, it’s the closest and clearest image we’ve seen (to my knowledge) of what the dashboard of these self-driving cars looks like. Unsurprisingly, it appears to be a digital display up there.

Google Driverless Car

So does this count as a company expense because he’s testing out some of Google’s new wares? If so, Lake Tahoe is the officially the best satellite office ever conceived.

In the 100+ comments that followed Thrun’s post, he updated us on the car’s maneuverability: “Just drove back from Tahoe, and the system was flawless. My wife now prefers it to me driving.”

He also gave a shout-out to the team of Googler’s who made the car a reality: “Big big cudos to +Chris Urmson and his team for making this happen. This is a transformational experience.”

Previously, Thrun was featured in a video promotion for a class he offered in which students would learn how to program self-driving cars. The video below shows him behind the wheel of the car, speaking freely into the camera while the car drives him around what looks to be a parking lot.

Even though Thrun is confident in his abilities to not worry about where the self-driving car is going, it’s still bracing to watch somebody not drive a moving car and it be okay.

Since rumors of Google’s driverless car have slowly swelled over the past year, Thrun has been the poster boy for the project. Last year at TEDx Brussels, he described how the stunning technology could save countless lives both from waste and death.

So… Mr. Thrun, how soon is now?