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
Jan 27, 2015
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. (AP)

A leftist victory in Greece, and anti-austerity pushback across Europe. We’ll ask where this goes.

Jan 27, 2015
As any ant knows, building a reliable team can be hard. (Flickr / Guildmn20)

From Silicon Valley to your office, some teams work better – and smarter – than others. We’ll look at the surprising reasons why.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 26, 2015
Frederick Daniel Hardy's "Baby's Birthday" (1867) shows a typical Victorian English family at home.  (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Brush your teeth with soot, stay away from water, wear a steel corset. We’ll talk with the author of “How to be a Victorian.” Strange ways from another age.

 
Jan 26, 2015
Yemeni protesters gather during a demonstration to show their support to Houthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.  (AP)

Yemen in turmoil, a new king in Saudi Arabia. We’ll look at what’s next for the Arabian Peninsula. Plus: the President’s trip to the Indian subcontinent.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment