Friday, April 01, 2016

Self-driving boats! Exciting or what?

I got an email late yesterday, from Chris from Google. He'd read my book, he'd seen Kantara's appearance on Google Street View, he'd looked at this blog. And he'd had an idea.

You may already know about Google's trials of a driverless car.

google.com
They seem to be progressing apace, and our wonderful PM says we'll be seeing them routinely on our roads by 2020. And if he says so, it's bound to be true.

But Chris had another idea. Driverless boats! He'd read about the problems some people have steering boats, getting them safely into locks, mooring them. He'd seen it for himself courtesy of Tim “It's a contact sport!” West and Pru Scales on the TV. And he thought if boating's supposed to be relaxing for everyone on the rivers and canals, then surely it'd be far more so if the bad driving were eliminated. And the same kind of technology as Google have used on their car could easily be adapted for a boat. This is Google, after all.

And here's the thing...

Would Grace and I like to trial this self-driving boat, an otherwise standard narrowboat, once it's developed? Would you say “No”? Chris thinks this could happen within a year. Would we still be interested then? “Too right”, said I! I didn't tell him that I was a teensy bit concerned about the Google car which crashed a while back. And another burst into flames (was that autonomous road rage??). I expect those were just glitches, and they'll have sorted them out before they fit out the boat.

Exciting, or what? A year is just too long to wait! But watch this space!

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