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Google Announces Its Self-Driving Car Has Learned How to Love

“The heart is the greatest engineering challenge of all,” says a spokesperson.

Google's self-driving car

Google's self-driving car 

 

Google announced today a new prototype of its self-driving car and—improving dramatically on the version introduced in May—the new vehicle is much closer to street ready. The car now has a steering wheel, pedals, mirrors, headlights, and the capacity to love.

“It was a serious challenge,” said one Google engineer, who requested anonymity to be able speak freely about the project. “We spent months showing the car the movie Drive over and over again, because we figured Ryan Gosling’s baby blues would set its pistons racing, but no luck. For a week we switched over to Herbie: Fully Loaded, just to see if Lindsay Lohan better fit its sexual orientation, but that just made the car ask us for cocaine."

The turning point, the engineer said, came "when the car met Stephen. That's when everything changed."

He was referring to a cobalt blue Tesla Model S driven by one of the project’s workers; the two met cute when they accidentally bumped into each other on the 101 onramp en route to the same Big Sur yoga retreat. Though Stephen was engaged to a high-powered, career-driven BMW, over the weekend the Google self-driving car won him over with a series of quirky mishaps, including falling onto him during a down dog, mistaking a vegan tofu bake for a new battery, and running afoul of the same New Jersey state law protecting traditional auto dealers.

“Our car was heartbroken when Stephen had to return to Mill Valley after the retreat,” said the engineer, “but on the Golden Gate Bridge, he had an epiphany, cancelled the wedding, and drove all the way back here playing 'In Your Eyes' on the sound system. We were all so happy for it. We just hope those two crazy kids can make it work.”

Though the car still faces several regulatory and technical challenges before mass adoption—for example, California’s DMV has not yet indicated whether it will allow the car on public roads—experts have praised the new version of Google’s car for improvements to its navigational algorithms, better paint styling, and the deep well of self-knowledge that allows it to fully commit itself to a relationship with another.

“It’s a triumph,” said one Stanford professor, “and one that—someday—I would love to be able to emulate in my own life." He added, staring off into the distance, “I'm so lonely.” 

 

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