Google's Self-Driving Car Just Got a Whole Lot More Futuristic

The self-driving car is the future of personal transportation. Wireless charging is the future of battery-powered devices. Marrying the two technologies makes sense.

Wireless charging is the future of electric vehicles, according to Mark Harris of IEEE Spectrum, and Google's self-driving car could soon he leading the charge.


This makes sense because the self-driving car is the future of personal transportation.

Leaked documents from the FCC indicate that Google is experimenting with wireless charging systems designed by East Coast startups HEVO Power and Momentum Dynamics. Rather than transferring power via cord and plug, wireless charging relies upon magnetic induction via embedded plates on the ground interacting with receivers on a vehicle's underside. Power is beamed from one point to the other. 

This is not at all dissimilar to how wireless phone charging works. One day we're all going to look back on the '00s and '10s and wonder how we ever lived without wireless charging, just as we look back now and wonder how anyone ever lived without the Internet. 

As for the self-driving car itself, Google has spent years testing several prototypes. In that time, the company has received criticism that its cars are "too polite," which is to say they don't function as if driven by boorish, distracted humans. Results have shown that a world full of autonomous vehicles would be much safer than the status quo, potentially saving tens-of-thousands of lives per year.

The ability to power and re-power these vehicles without bulky and expensive plug-based infrastructure could be a key component to their eventual ubiquity.

Photo credit: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images

---

Robert Montenegro is a writer and dramaturg who regularly contributes to Big Think and Crooked Scoreboard. He lives in Washington DC and is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Twitter: @Monteneggroll. Website: robertmontenegro.com.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

The information arms race can’t be won, but we have to keep fighting

The tactics that work now won't work for long.

Politics & Current Affairs

Arms races happen when two sides of a conflict escalate in a series of ever-changing moves intended to outwit the opponent.

Keep reading Show less

10 excerpts from Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations' to unlock your inner Stoic

Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.

(Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
  • Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
  • The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
Keep reading Show less

What if all humanity had to do to save itself was listen?

By working together, and learning from one another, we can build better systems.

Videos
  • Many of the things that we experience, are our imagination manifesting into this physical realm, avers artist Dustin Yellin.
  • People need to completely rethink the way they work together, and learn from one another, that they they can build better systems. If not, things may get "really dark" soon.
  • The first step to enabling cooperation is figuring out where the common ground is. Through this method, despite contrary beliefs, we may be able to find some degree of peace.