Blind California man drives to Taco Bell in test of Google's experimental self-driving car - NY Daily News

A legally-blind California man got behind the wheel of a modified Toyota Prius and drove to Taco Bell and the dry cleaner in a successful test of Google's self-driving car.

Steve Mahan, who says he is "95% blind," sat in the driver's seat of the Prius but never touched the steering wheel.

"Look, Ma, no hands," Mahan joked during the drive, which was posted on Google's YouTube channel on Wednesday.

While self-driving cars may be years away from hitting dealerships across the country, creative minds at Google and other companies appear to be making substantial progress with the technology. Google announced its self-driving project in 2010, and touted Mahan's quick trip for tacos as a taste of what may lie ahead for other disabled drivers. Google says it has completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving.

"We organized this test as a technical experiment outside of our core research efforts, but we think itís also a promising look at what this kind of technology may one day deliver for society if rigorous technical and safety standards can be met," Google's introduction to Mahan's ride reads.

Some states have already begun to take notice. In February, Nevada became the first state to spell out requirements for testing self-driving cars on state roads.

Morgan, who was accompanied by a police officer on his historic trip, can't wait for driverless cars to become a reality.

"Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things," says Mahan, CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center in San Jose.