90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Self-Driving Cars

California gives the green light.  Is this the future?  No hands?

California Gov. Edmund G Brown Jr., front left, rides in a driverless car to a bill signing at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. The legislation will open the way for driverless cars in the state. Google, which has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for the legislation has a fleet of driverless cars that has logged more than 300,000 miles (482,780 kilometers) of self-driving on California roads. (AP)

California Gov. Edmund G Brown Jr., front left, rides in a driverless car to a bill signing at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. The legislation will open the way for driverless cars in the state. Google, which has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for the legislation has a fleet of driverless cars that has logged more than 300,000 miles (482,780 kilometers) of self-driving on California roads. (AP)

A green light in California this week for self-driving cars.  Not flooding the highways yet, no.  But on their way.  Cars where your hands are not on the wheel.  Your foot not on the brake.  Cars that will take you – one day, we’re told – where you want to go.  You snooze, they cruise… someday.

For now, it’s a mix of your eyes and theirs.  But everybody’s pushing for the whole enchilada.  Cadillac, Audi, BMW, Toyota, Google – yes, Google.  For some its sounds dreamy.  For some, unnerving.  And if they speed, or crash, who gets the ticket?

This hour, On Point:  here come the self-driving cars.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).

Alberto Broggi, professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma

Bryant Walker Smith, a lecturer at Stanford Law School.

From Tom’s Reading List

Newsday “The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways.”

Christian Science Monitor “Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will pave the way for driverless cars in California. Driverless cars use computers, sensors and other technology to operate independently, but allow humans to take control at any time.”

BBC “The bill was signed at the headquarters of Google, which has been testing a fleet of 12 autonomous computer-controlled vehicles for several years.”

Video

Check out this video about Google’s self-driving car.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 22, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Russian economy will rebound and the ruble will stabilize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. (AP)

A weak ruble and a turbulent economy. We look at Putin’s Russia and what its economic free fall means.

Dec 22, 2014
A sample of some of the costumes on display at the fall 2014 "Dance & Fashion" exhibition at New York City's Museum at FIT. (AP)

Couture fashion exhibits are drawing record crowds at museums. We’ll look at the beauty and the art behind the glitz.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

 
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment