Future self-driving cars could make traffic smoother and safer, among plenty of other potential benefits, but one thing you don't hear much about — and should — is their utility for people with physical limitations. For example, Steve Mahan, who has lost 95 percent of his vision. He becomes Google Autonomous Car Driver #1 in the video past the jump.
We have been following Google's autonomous cars for a while now, and the company claims to have completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led, accident-free driving (except when humans have been involved). Google put Mahan behind the wheel to demonstrate how well the car works and how it can become a practical tool for driver independence, not just a cool toy.
As the Google rep in the passenger seat explains how the car uses radar and laser sensing, Mahan takes in the experience and uses the car to run some errands. It's actually quite touching.