This is what it looks like to have the future pull up beside you

It's not every day you have to give way to a car that lacks a human driver.

This picture was taken in the Berkeley area and posted to Reddit by user ilovepixar. Given that Google has at least 10 self-driving cars in its fleet, this may be a typical sight for people living in the Silicon Valley area. But for the rest of us, this is pretty damned cool — and a startling reminder that the era of the driverless car is all but upon us.

These cars need to soak up a tremendous amount of data in order to work — about 750 megabytes per second. According to Idealab founder and CEO Bill Gross, it captures everything it sees while it's moving, including cars, trucks, birds, rolling balls, and dropped cigarette butts.

Here's what the car "sees" while it makes a left turn:

This is what it looks like to have the future pull up beside you

Gross writes:

If it sees a cigarette butt, it knows a person might be creeping out from between cars. If it sees a rolling ball it knows a child might run out from a driveway. I am truly stunned by how impressive an achievement this is.

I believe that this is an UNDER-hyped revolution in the making.

As of August 2012, Google's driverless vehicles have logged more than 300,000 miles — and all without recording a single accident. Oh, except that time it was crashed by a human driver.

Image via Bill Gross.