Google Self-Driving Car Takes Blind Man To Taco Bell

    March 28, 2012
    Chris Crum

Google uploaded a video of a self-driving car test, showing Steve Mahan, a legally blind man behind the wheel, and stopping at Taco Bell for a burrito.

Google says in the video description, “We announced our self-driving car project in 2010 to make driving safer, more enjoyable, and more efficient. Having safely completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, we wanted to share one of our favorite moments. Here’s Steve, who joined us for a special drive on a carefully programmed route to experience being behind the wheel in a whole new way. 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.”

“95% of my vision is gone. I’m well past legally blind,” says Mahan in the video. “You lose your timing in life. Everything takes you much longer. There are some places that you cannot go. There are some things that you cannot do. Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things.”

At the end of the video, it says it was produced in partnership with Morgan Hill Police Department and Santa Clara Valley Blind Center San Jose, CA.

As reported earlier this month, Google’s driverless cars have inspired new legislation in California, similar to legislation introduced last year in Nevada, which legalized autonomous cars, clearing the way for Google’s program. It’s actually kind of hard to believe this program has already gotten so far, but there’s no telling how far it will actually go, if enough legislation gets passed in other states, and eventually countries.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Google put out a lot more videos similar in nature to the one above, to promote the company’s efforts.