Nairobi News

BlogWhat's Hot

FRANK MIDEGA: Google driverless car in Nairobi?

By FRANK MIDEGA November 16th, 2013 2 min read

A while back Google tested 12 cars that have an autonomous computer system capable of standalone driving.

For the years they have been tested they have clocked upwards of 480,000 driverless kilometres without a single crash reported.

This is gloriously unsettling in view of the possible calamities that a self driven car would advance on Nairobi.

You get the cotton in your mouth feeling, something you cannot aptly describe in words.

Fifteen billion years after the heavens invented courtesy it’s yet to find the route to our roads.

The Google car will be a classic case of an invention built by geniuses, but used by clowns. The cars are appropriately fitted with cameras and maps to navigate the machine and avoid any collisions with any oncoming objects.

Only one problem with this, Google couldn’t possibly have envisioned the scenes that Kenyan driving embodies.

The car obviously hasn’t anticipated what it will have to put up with on Lang’ata Road for instance where the common currency is rage.

Unruly drivers

Kenyans, especially those who believe their cars are bigger than Damascus, treat their driving lessons like an afterthought; on that premise the Google car will only work in Nairobi if the rest of humanity drop their cars and get into self driving cars too.

It’s laughable to try thinking how a computer system will try to predict and comply with the numerous unruly matatu and private drivers in the city.

The closest a Kenyan gets to good driving is when he’s parked his car and switched off the engine.The mayhem a self-driving car could impose to civilisation as we know it is indeterminate.

How about in the case of an accident? With the wave of a palm one could wish away a lawsuit and with the other open a new chapter of litigation in Kenya. Should the car be held responsible?