Sitting in the passenger seat of a car affectionately known at Nvidia as “BB8” is an oddly terrifying experience. Between me and the driver’s seat is a centre panel covered in touchscreens detailing readings from the numerous cameras and sensors placed around the car. There’s also a large red button helpfully labelled “stop.” As BB8 pulls away to take me on a short ride around a dedicated test track on the north side of the Las Vegas convention centre—with no-one in the driver’s seat, mind you—it’s hard to resist keeping a hand hovering over that big red button. After all, it’s not every day that you consciously put your life in the hands of a computer. The steering wheel jerks and turns as BB8 sweeps around a corner at a cool 10 miles per hour, neatly avoiding a set of traffic cones while remaining within the freshly painted white lines of the makeshift circuit. After three smooth laps, two Nvidia employees wheel out an obstacle—a large orange panel—into the middle of track, which BB8 deftly avoids. Aside from a remote kill switch held by a chaperone on the outside of the track, BB8 isn’t being controlled by a remote, nor… Read full this story
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