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Google had already driven more than 300,000 miles,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Advances

Elizabeth Taylor

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American Public University System

Google Advances

            Technological advances have become a
constant part of the twenty-first century, black and white TVs are a thing of
the very, very distant past.  Majority of
today’s generation has never even heard of a floppy disk. Change is part of
evolution and like all things, technology advances every day. There is one
company that has continued to make life a little bit easier.  That company, is Google!  Google’s parent company Alphabet has been a
top leading developer alongside of Amazon. 
There are many products that the normal individual who isn’t considered
a “tech” person would not know about! 
But it is no surprise that technology has advanced to a fully automated
home, Google Nest; or a self-driving automobile; a drone delivery service, Project
Wing; balloon internet service, Project Loon, and also being one of the only
companies that is highly concerned with renewable energy.

Self-Driving
Automobile

            More than 90 percent of accidents
each year are caused by human error (Bailey, 2014). In 2009 Google’s research
and development teams began working towards the first self-driving automobile. According
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, nearly 75 percent of
cars will be self-driving by 2040 (Bailey, 2014).  The idea behind a self-driving car was the
increased safety when human error is taken out of the equation.  The original fleet for Google’s self-driving
car project consisted of Toyota Prius and their goal was to drive over ten
uninterrupted 100-mile routes (Waymo, N.D.)  By 2012 the company had already driven more
than 300,000 miles, added a Lexus RX450h to their fleet, and moved from less
country roads and more city streets.  By
2015 Google created their own vehicle called “Firefly” and the world first
fully self-driving car was on the street! As time evolved, so did Google’s car
project.  In 2017 they added a Chrysler
Pacifica Hybrid minivan was part of their project.

            The biggest debate and challenge
this self-driving car would face would be the liability factor when trying to
implement a fully self-driving automobile. 
While the technology takes out the portion of human error that
contributes to majority of accidents out of the equation, you are now adding a
liability issue if anything were to happen during a drive.  As part of the liability issue, the updated
software or technology to ensure the car is functional is a huge deal.  There have been multiple opinions on how to
accurately address the liability issue. In 2014, RAND Corporation made a
recommendation that accidents occurring by fault of the self-driving feature
would extend as some sort of no-fault liability, wherein the injured person
would filed a claim from their own insurance. 
Legislation on the other hand requires a single person is responsible of
the vehicle, therefore the individual owner would be liable should any
accidents occur.  To overcome this
challenge, when purchasing the car an additional insurance policy could be
included, similar to the 35,000 mile warranty that most dealerships have on new
vehicle purchases. Overall, the self-driving automobile could have a huge
impact on society.  The amount of deaths
caused by accidents each year could 99 percent of the time be prevented.  The downside to this would be the maintenance
that would come with such car.  If a car
is fully autonomous it would be vulnerable and susceptible to viruses or
hackers, which could affect the ability to perform as created to.  Another thing to consider would be the cost
to continue maintaining the software, if someone were to skip a suggested
update or upgrade, would the driving feature be able to be utilized or would
there be a safeguarding mechanism to lock that feature until updated? At the
start of Bailey’s article, he mentioned that Americans spend $230 billion
annual to cover the costs of accidents. By having such a vehicle that could
accurately predict all outcomes and choose the route that is best, would in
turn help the economy. Americans would be able to spend less on the insurance
policies that increase due to accidents.  

When Bailey states “People a generation hence
will marvel at the carnage we inflicted as we hurtled down highways relying on
just our own reflexes to keep us safe” (Baily, 2014, para. 19) I believe he is
referring to the fact that autonomous vehicles along with so much more will be
the norm of the future.  As technology
develops and advances, cars that you have to drive yourself will be a thing of
the past, like horse and buggy.  Too many
accidents today are caused by texting and driving or a distracted driver.  When they are filed with insurance, those
distractions are not listed because an average person knows that if they state
in the police report or insurance claim the wreck was caused due to negligence
and lack of attention, the claim wouldn’t be paid and there would be a fine
associated with it. I do believe that autonomous cars are a great idea, I do
not think they will be implemented fully by 2040.  The cost of such technology and the cost of
maintenance is not something all of America can afford and I do not believe we
will be at a point where all of the human driving cars are unable to be
purchased.

Project
Loon

            Have you ever been in an area where
your reception is awful and you can’t make calls or send messages? What about
internet, have you moved to a location where internet services weren’t offered
with certain company and you are forced to either have the subpar internet
service or none at all? Approximately 44 percent of people living in rural
areas do not have access to or cannot afford internet (Molla, 2017).  There is now a way that those areas would
have access to affordable and decent connectivity and that way is called
Project Loon. A 2017 study concluded that “23 percent of Americans in urban
areas do not have access to or cannot afford broadband versus 28 percent in
rural areas” (Molla, 2017).  In other
countries that number sky rockets!  In an
evolving and technological dependent society, the lack of internet becomes a
larger issue.  This issue now impacts
education and development of future generations.  Project Loon is a research and development
idea that will enable the areas without the internet service or with limited
expensive internet service, to have a more affordable option.  Research began in 2012 to develop internet to
areas that were without, by balloon.  The
challenges that Google has already faced when implementing this technology was
the lawsuit that occurred in 2014 after the CEO did a TED talk that divulged
they used a patent that did not belong to them. 
There is another company out there that has been providing commercial
wireless service from balloon since 2004, that company is Space Data.  In 2007 Google took part in an auction of
radio spectrum as part of a plan that would enable frequencies to open up to
all users.  During this process, Space
Data saw a chance for them to squeeze into the investment and have Google fund
part of their service by creating nationwide network towers.  In turn, the company had to release all of
their company’s information and secrets to Google.  After touring the facility, visiting the
Network Operations Control Center, seeing confidential wind data, and examining
the inner working of the stratospheric transmitters, Google abruptly ended
acquisitions with Space Data (Harris, 2017). 
While Space Data has been using the weather balloons to provide data, but
Google has surpassed their basic concept.  Google has implemented balloons that last
weeks longer than the competitors and their balloons are 100 percent solar
powered.  Part of the litigation required
that Google had to release technical data to see where exactly Loon was
infringing on their patents.  This could
pose an issue if they win their lawsuit, the competitor would have an advantage
of knowing Google’s next move. The trial is set to take place in 2019 and if a
motion is granted in favor of the plaintiff, it would prevent Google from using
any of the supposed patent infringements until the case is decided.  This hurdle has potential to cause a huge
issue for Google. Another potential challenge is the cost for the
services.  If a portion of the populace
is without internet due to the cost, there has to be a selling point to make
this technology cost efficient as opposed to the commercial internet providers.  If Google is in fact innocent on the patents,
they should continue their research and development of Loon.  While the two companies share similarities,
Google has truly taken the next step and can offer so much more to the
world. 

By implementing a more affordable and
accessible internet service everyone will have access to the evolving
time!  Internet and technology has been
embedded into the education system throughout the world.  To create something that would allow other
countries to have the same educational advancements directly impacts the world
economy.  A child should not be hindered
or receive less of an education because their school cannot afford to implement
technology into their daily learning. 
Outside of school, there are so many programs online that help students
with their grades, increase their reading levels, and assist in tutoring.  Google’s Loon project is so much more than
just internet, it will be beneficial to a multitude of individuals and world
progression.  This project is
environmentally safe and utilizes 100 percent solar power to power the
balloons.  To ensure it remains
environmentally friendly, Google is able to guide the balloons to certain drop
point to ensure that the balloon does not litter the land and is forgotten
about.  Their advances also allow them to
recycle and reuse the balloon that are coming out of the stratosphere.

Google
Nest

             Google Nest has turned home security into a
fully automated system.  The home
automation adapts to the user, utilizes sensors, and has completely Wi-Fi
enabled products.  Nest Labs originally
created a smart thermostat in 2011, smoke and carbon monoxide detector in 2013,
and they were later bought by Google in 2014. 
The Nest technology stood stagnant on more technologies until 2016 when
they released the home security system.  The
security system has evolved home security into a fully automated home.  Potential challenges that Google could face
in implementing this technology are equipment recalls and hackers into the
system, both of which they have faced previously and overcame.  Google nest have already faced these issues,
in 2016 an article was released after a customer’s “Smart” thermostat suffered
from a mysterious software bug, draining the battery life and leaving their
home to drop to freezing temperatures overnight (Bilton, 2016).  With anything technology related you always
have to be cautious of the vulnerabilities of being connected to the internet.  To prevent these issues, it relies heavily on
the owner to ensure that software updates are being done regularly and that a
malware protection is installed (Paul, 2017).  These vulnerabilities could be very dangerous,
allowing hackers to take over a home security system could allow someone to
break into a home and police never even be called.  Away that Google could assist in preventing
these issues is having an automatic system update as part of the technology
interface, similar to the apple software updates.  When it is time for an update it will notify
the user via email.  During the recent
Christmas season 2017, there were a lot of issues with packages that were being
left on porches being stolen. 
Unfortunately the home system does not automatically send police
notifications, however, Google has created an additional facial recognition
feature that could potentially allow the owner to see the person and react as
they are approaching and call the police. The homes that had the cameras on the
front door were able to at least get a good picture of the individuals that
were stealing packages.  This system is a
great advancement and allows homeowners to have peace of mind if they are not
home or on vacation.  Environmentally
these products could potentially have a negative impact if they are not
disposed of properly.  With Google Nest
it has links and sites to go to ensuring proper recycling for old
products.  On this site you enter your
zip code and it comes up with local recycling areas to take your old products
to.   Overall Google is a very environmental
cognoscente company, all of their research and development address the
environmental issues during the research phase to ensure that they are doing
what is best for the consumer and community.  In Bilton’s article, he mentions that there is
an arbitration clause within the Nest user agreement, if a glitch in the system
did occur and resulted in pipes freezing and busting the company would not be
responsible for the reimbursement.  

 

Project
Wing

            Project Wing is a product of Alphabet
technology’s step towards creating delivery drones.  The thought behind this is to one day be able
to deliver food, packages, and emergency medicine quicker and to more remote
locations that would otherwise be required to wait longer for mail.  Delivering products via air leaves room for
potential issues.  Laws and regulations
can be huge show stoppers for drone advances and learning how to play by the
rules of the air (Adams, 2017).  A few
obstacles Google for face would be competitors like Amazon and getting past
congress on approvals for the unmanned systems or air agreements. Current
testing and developments have enabled Alphabet to successful test the drone
management platform, which would help drones to navigate through crowded air
space (Condon, 2017).  “Project Wing has focused on developing three core
elements of the platform: real-time route planning for drones in the same area,
sending notifications to operators of any unexpected changes to the aircraft of
route and sending notifications regarding no-fly zones and safety-sensitive
areas” (Condon, 2017).   This is a huge obstacle that they are well on
their way to overcoming.  There has been
much debate on whether the drone would be more environmentally friendly as
opposed to a delivery truck, and the answer is, it depends. “Researchers found
that drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantages over trucks when
the drones don’t have to fly very far to their destinations or when a delivery
route has few recipients” (Langston, 2017). 
The study concluded that with smaller packages drone take the lead,
however, trucks are the smarter and more reliable resource for larger
deliveries.  With a  drone it would not be able to deliver
multiple packages in one trip and would require constant back and forth, making
it require more trips and less efficient than the normal delivery method.  In 2016, there were 42,000 commercial drones
and by 2021 it is estimated the fleets could range from 442,000 to 1.62 million
(Condon, 2017).  A negative impact on the
environment would be the impact on the economy and results in loss of delivery
service jobs like USPS, FedEx, and UPS.  In
May of 2016, an article was released that showed drones could replace “$127
billion worth of human labor and service” (Weller,2016).  That would negatively impact the economy and
lead to less jobs throughout the United States work force.  To minimize the loss of jobs, congress could
put a cap on the amount of drones allowed in the sky at one time.  I would be concerned on the impact if a drone
were to malfunction in the air and the ultimate landing place, which could be
dangerous for the environment and community. 
For ethical purposes I think this would allow tracking and be safer for
the roads.  Thinking back to the
self-driving automobile, some truck drivers do not annotate the correct amount
of miles they are driving.  With drones
there are less chances of human error or lack of sleep due to incorrect driving
logs.

                                                  

Renewable
Energy and Sustainable Solutions

The amount of Google queries exceeds 40,000
every second or over 3.5 billion searches a day!  That requires a lot of energy to ensure Google
is continuously working, using as much electricity as San Diego! (Irfan, 2017).
 Google technologies have truly paved the
way and are winning the race in renewable energy. In 2016, Google stated that
by 2017 they would be 100% generated by renewable energy and they met that goal
(Donnelly, 2017). “The tech giant was able to hit this target of matching 100
percent of its energy use after closing new deals to buy wind and solar power
generated in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Iowa, adding to several purchases it has made
since 2012″(Irfan, 2017).  Renewable
energy has proven to be cheaper than new fossil fuel and better for the
environment. Of all of Google’s advancements, this is the most important one
that has such a huge impact on the environment. 
While renewable energy may be costly to start it ends up paying for
itself over time and helps prevent global warming on an ever larger level.  By investing in renewable energy, Google is
assisting with adding private sector jobs to the community, the more renewable
energy plants the more jobs for the American population. Negative impacts that
this could have on the environment would be the locations in which they build
the power plants. When companies are creating Solar panels they require a large
amount of land cleared, which may interfere with land uses.  It’s putting actual electricity onto the grid
where it operates, after which it retires the certificate so that no one else
can re-use it. This removes a quantity of renewable electricity from the market,
forcing utilities to make more renewable power to generate more RECs rather
than trading existing certificates. It also creates an incentive to build new
wind and solar plants” (Irfan, 2017). 
When thinking of obstacles, I think that Google has set the standard and
there are not many obstacles that they will face.  The company is so large and has deep pockets
from investors, they cost associated with all of the technological advances do
not seem to impact the company.  Managers
could be impacted by this in multiple ways, more employees due to the increase
of plants and a larger workload for current employees.  Renewable energy and sustainable solutions
can be costly and should be handled carefully. Studies show that although it is
a better method than burning fossil fuels, each of the methods have their own
negative impacts.  Which of the lesser
evils would you choose?

Conclusion

            Creating a better, more efficient,
and safe world for the next generation should be on everyone’s to do list.  Google is ensuring that we are paving the way
for future generations and the next stage of technology. “Every once in a
while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an
innovation” Dean Kamen.   Taking
innovation to the next level is something that everyone can be part of, the
world is evolving, you don’t want to get left behind!