So that self driving car we've been reading about over the last few years -- it's more of a mapping of a virtual environment than it is a self-driving car.
While it might make the in-car problem simpler, but it vastly increases the amount of work required for the task. A whole virtual infrastructure needs to be built on top of the road network! [businessinsider.com...]
Consider the scale of infrastructure that would be required to roll it out (punny) as well as the ongoing maintenance costs due to an ever-changing environment.
Where's the point of balance between cost versus practical use? Who will pick up the municipal cost tab to make it a reality? Hint: probably not the corporations.
Google are not the only company working on self-driving cars, and the technology.
There's this recent piece about Volvo's cars. [cnet.com...]
There are a couple of problems I see that are beyond the funding aspect.
Firstly, it's really weird getting into a vehicle without someone actually taking control. Of course, we've all become familiar with additions to make our driving safer, such as lane control, and automatic braking, and even automatic parking. But there are only additions, and the driver retains control. I see the problem of individuals accepting the driver-less vehicles.
Secondly, what's it going to cost to buy? I suspect it'll be out of the range of the average vehicle owner.
Where I see the value of the system is, perhaps, in commercial vehicles.
Many of us have already ridden on passenger transit systems that have no driver. Airport terminal shuttles are a typical example. I love this one at London Heathrow Airport. [youtube.com...]
The next step is to take something commercial to the open road.