Still, even for someone like me — a reporter who has spent a fair amount of time with this kind of technology over the past few years — riding through a major city in a car without a driver was an eye-opener.
Not to say there weren’t issues. As the car passed the joyriding teenagers a second time, it swerved sharply to the right, presumably because it mistook them for pedestrians. At another intersection, it hit the brakes just as the light changed to red, skidding to a stop in the middle of a crosswalk, its nose sticking out into the intersection. A pedestrian yelled at my robot driver and flipped it off as he walked by. I couldn’t say if that was more or less satisfying than flipping off a human.
And then, just as we hit some nighttime traffic, the car detected a possible accident and pulled over. It was a false alarm, but the car wouldn’t budge. My ride was over.