Author: Jeremy Hsu
Robots probably won’t look human when they first begin appearing on the streets in the next several years. But some robot cars such as Google’s self-driving vehicles will have recognizable faces designed to win human hearts and minds. Google hopes to begin testing its custom-made robot cars on the roads of Northern California starting in 2015.
Google’s self-driving car prototype represents a cuddly vision of the robot future that is almost the complete opposite of what most dystopian science fiction films have imagined. The vehicle’s headlights combine with a pert “nose” to give the impression of a wide-eyed baby confronting the world for the first time. Wired has described the car as “an egg with the face of a koala.” Cartoonist Matthew Inman, creator of the popular website The Oatmeal, dubbed the Google cars “adorable Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bots.” In other words, Google’s car has a face that wordlessly asks people to trust it when they see the driverless vehicle ambling down the road.