The Joke of the Google Self-Driving Car

Background information:

Palo Alto in the Silicon Valley area is located in California and is beautiful in a myriad of different ways. It is close to nature, has beautiful architecture, and is an extremely environmentally conscious, friendly, and accepting location. I grew up in Palo Alto since I moved from Sweden to the United States when I was almost six years old and went to high school just around the time that Google started releasing their self-driving cars to test-drive around in the Palo Alto and Mountain View area, as Google’s headquarters is located right next to Palo Alto in Mountain View. The Google self-driving car projected was later named Waymo, but people always referred to these unique cars as the Google self-driving cars.


Main piece:

Because I was enrolled in high school around the time that Google released their self-driving cars out into the public traffic, I would often see them on my way to school and driving around my neighborhood. They truly began to gain popularity throughout my junior and senior year of high school (2015-2016), however, which was just around the time that everyone my age was receiving their driver’s license. Therefore, as more and more high school students started driving themselves to and from school, and Google started releasing more self-driving cars into the public, students my age would often run into them in the traffic to and from school everyday. The Google self-driving cars are amazing in their technologically advanced feats, but the one striking problem is that they drive very slowly. Therefore, because they are extremely slow cars, people would often get stuck behind them on the rush-hour getting to school and leaving school, so getting stuck behind the Google self-driving cars became a local joke in Palo Alto that people would always use if they were running late or to simply be funny.


Personal thoughts:

I am very grateful to have lived in the Palo Alto community because there are countless technological advancements around us everyday. Some of these advancements come with their host of disadvantages, however, as was seen with the Google self-driving cars. I remember being very frustrated when I was in a rush and ended up behind one of these cars because there were often very few ways to get around them and they often contributed to the traffic overall, so it is nice that there are no Google self-driving cars near USC.