The Farmers’ New Nag

The self-drive car which Google says it’s going to start building – a production run of 200 for testing purposes – is reminiscent of the famers’ old cobs they’d use to go to the pub.

A nag always knows the way back to its own stable and, left to its own devices, will always head there.

A farmer could sup all night, tell the old tale and his cob would take him home.

The Google car will do this a little faster than a nag – but not much faster – it only does 25 miles an hour.

The test cars will be out on the roads within twelve months, says Google.

The cars could revolutionise social life. Who wants to go out to dinner these days if you have to drive?

Suddenly the drink/drive issue dissolves.



  1. Games are about double the size of Hollywood alone but if you add in films worldwide it’s about the same.

  2. But I believe the games business has been bigger than Hollywood for a decade or more Mike. And I’d say Stooriefit’s definitely up to it. Engineers can turn their hand to anything.

  3. It’s as definitely top end career path if he’s up to it.

    Apart from Hollywood blockbusters (also mostly made in the UK nowadays), films and games cost about the same to make nowadays. What you really want to do is achieve a film and game tie-up but to spread the costs but to date I can’t think of a single tie-up that hasn’t been embarassing, usually but not always to the film side.

  4. Yes Mike, maybe Stooriefit should be writing games not dystopian film scripts. And games appear to be a lot more profitable.

  5. Actually I was thinking the ideas given here would make a great basis for the next Grand Theft Auto computer game, using driverless cars to blow up police stations, knock down some cyclists or even to block roads to aid your escape 🙂

  6. I think you should be writing scripts for Ridley Scott, Stooriefit. A dystopian vision indeed.

  7. Yes – we will all take to the streets and protest against technology removing our free will… just hop into your driverless car and ask it to take you to your nearest protest … then discover it has locked the doors and is driving to the nearest private sector re-education facility where you will be surgically re-programmed. Once the car has dropped you off it will then carry on, unoccupied, to the protest in order to be used by the private sector security company as a crowd control drone, with all the fail-safes turned off.

    The EULA for the software will include terms which make you liable for any damage the car causes to people and property, under all circumstances, but will remove your right to control it if you are imprisoned, sectioned or otherwise deemed by society to be a non-contributing unit.

  8. Jesus Christ, Werewolf Trouserpress, that’s terrible. There does seem to be a relentless and rising tide of disregard in the USA and Europe for what ordinary people say. It’s almost as though the rulers have decided to neuter and control the ruled. As you say – very scary. Mr Orwell, of course, warned us about all this.

  9. You may be right – maybe the roads don’t need modification, DontAgree, I had assumed the driverless cars would need roadside sensors. Now I see the Google cars rely on very precise mapping of roadside features – so precise that Google has only mapped 2,000 miles of road with the necessary precision. The UK has 250,000 miles of roads. God knows how many miles the USA has – obviously multi-millions.

  10. Yeah, that “killer app” remark was a total accident 🙂

    Anyway, often when new technology arrived on the scene for transportation the death toll was rather high initially, but eventually it got better, much better than the previous technology. Think of Steam-boats/trains, Diesel-boats/trains, air balloons, zeppelins, airplanes and of course cars.

    The high initial cost by the way will keep a lid on the death toll as it has done in the past with new technology. I don’t think there is a need to ‘upgrade’ all the roads, that would totally make the car useless, they seem to be driving just fine right now without such an upgrade.

    I am convinced that the self driving car will be safer than the current human driven one, and that this will happen in my lifetime, i.e. the next 40 years (unless I get killed by a human driving the current technology). The Google self driving cars of today already have a stellar safety record and those go faster than 25mph …

    P.S. I forgot to mention the other killer app, kids that are too young to have a license, just make sure to limit the destinations.

  11. Yes very literally a killer app – don’t like the sound of it, Dr Bob

  12. DontAgree

    Your last line is what I was alluding to on a darker note!

  13. Very nice, DontAgree, but at what cost is all this attainable in the work needed to prepare the roads for it? And who pays that cost?

  14. I can think of a number of useful applications for a self driving car.

    1) In not too distant future because they are simply much safer than people driving.

    2) And for me when I am long past retirement age, half blind and much too slow to react to fast moving traffic. Nowadays old people loose their independence when they loose their license due to medical issues, this technology totally solves that.

    3) Or how about vacation? Instead of dealing with TSA and high cost of flying, or the sloooow moving trains, and not to mention the hassle of renting cars, why not get in the self driving car, stretch out and wake up the next morning at your next destination … also no need for hotel costs then (take a shower at the local gym).

    If you ask me this is definitely a killer app.

  15. Oh dear, Werewolf Trouserpress, a couple of idealists start off with the ideal ‘don’t be evil’ and end up working for the NSA and the military. A cautionary tale!

  16. Werewolf trouserpress

    if Dr Bob is right, then folks still need a driving licence for a google car?

    I think at the end of the day the technology developed for glass and drivable cars is for military use – this whole bollox about deriving consumer products is just a front.

    Sure isn’t googles head techy ex Darpa? figures!

  17. There is no brake or steering wheel. Just an ‘on off’ and presumably a talking navigator. The only thing the on board drunkard can actually do is open the door and put a foot on the ground. (which I’m sure will happen).

  18. Ah Yes Martijn useful if you don’t want people to know where you’ve been visiting.

  19. Spoilsport, Mike

  20. Not sure in California but the DOT rules make it quite clear there has to be someone in the drivers seat at all times qualified to take over WHEN the software gets it wrong. We already have farm vehicles that drive themselves but still have to have someone sit on them at all times even on private land.

    So no drunks and no remote parking sorry.

  21. actually i would use it to reach those places without decent parking
    drive there, let the car park itself a few blocks down the road and make it pick me up once i’m done.

  22. OMG Dr Bob, I hadn’t thought of that. As for the ‘drunk in charge’ point, you’ve just damned the only useful application. What with this and Glass, Google is going to look like a flake-ball hardware developer – something to be expected from software guys perhaps.

  23. I thought that technically the offence is “Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle” which means if you are the only occupant then the offence has been committed, same as if you were drunk but a provisional licence holder is driving.

    On a slightly darker note it would a good delivery system for anything you want delivered but do not want to be in the vicinity when it gets there. Effectively a ‘drone’ car

  24. Well if there are other useful applications for this vehicle, Silverman, I’d be glad to hear about them

  25. That is the marketing for self-drive cars sorted – a person can be drunk and still “drive” their car around!!

    Genius David!

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