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Did Steven Spielberg's 'Minority Report' Predict Google's Self-Driving Cars?

Did Steven Spielberg's 'Minority Report' Predict Google's Self-Driving Cars?
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Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is at the forefront of driverless car development, but the project didn't begin until after a futuristic movie hinted at what the future might hold.

"Minority Report," directed by Steven Spielberg, told the story of a unique police unit that was able to arrest criminals before they were able to commit murder. This was made possible by a special group of humans (known as Precogs) that could predict the future.

When the film was released in 2002, the futuristic setting -- which included self-driving cars, an endless array of interactive displays and a number of high-tech devices -- could have been written off as a work of fiction. It now seems that the film's only fictional element was its plot.

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But did it serve as inspiration for Google? Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car initiative, would not specifically answer this question.

"I think this technology has the opportunity to be transformational," Urmson told Benzinga during a press Q&A at the Automotive News World Congress. "Anyone who tells you exactly what is going to happen after you get through that watershed moment is selling you something."

Urmson did, however, indicate that the film's representation of driverless cars (in which passengers appeared to share their vehicles) could be where things are headed.

"I do think that the opportunity for shared vehicles, where you can get in them and they can take you where you want to go and then go help someone else -- I think that's incredibly possible," Urmson added. "I think partial car ownership is possible where I take a car to work in the morning and my wife takes it to work later or it goes and picks my teenage son up and takes him to football. I think that can be really compelling."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

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Posted-In: Automotive News World Congress Chris Urmson driverless cars Google self-driving carsTop Stories Exclusives Tech Best of Benzinga


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