My grandfather was paralyzed from the waist down from an accident before I was born. As he aged, his health deteriorated until he was unable to drive his own car despite it having specially outfitted controls operated by his hands. That left him unable to do anything outside the home without someone finding time to come and help him. I can appreciate how difficult it is for some people with disabilities to do the simple things that we take for granted like driving to the grocery store or even to get a haircut.
Google’s self-driving car seems like a cool gadget on one hand, and it is, but I think many people don’t see the real benefit to this sort of technology. I think that self-driving cars hold the biggest potential benefit for people that can’t drive on their own for a multitude of reasons. Recently, a man named Steve Mahan, who happens to be blind, got to go for a ride in Google self-driving car. He said, “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.”
This technology could really change lives for many people and I’m glad several states are working to approve the operation of these vehicles on public streets. Check out the video above to see Steve during his test drive – and a stop by Taco Bell for lunch.
[via LA Times]