The future of automation both in and outside the home will result in a significant number of changes to how we do business – but also, to transportation and movement in general.

Google’s self-driving cars have been the focus of some attention over the last few years, with much of the research taking place in a secretive part of the Google headquarters. But over the past few weeks the company has been showing journalists more information about how the cars work, even taking some on test drives. The automated future is growing closer.

By and large, the experiences seem to be largely positive. Google claims the cars have driven autonomously for about 700,000 miles, which is far from a viable option for mainstream transport but a promising start.

The real power lies in the way Google’s self-driving cars detect what’s around them and react to their situations. By using sensors, lasers and radar, information is gathered and processed in order to make rapid calculations about where the car should stop, drive and even stop to avoid an accident. All of this happens in real-time, as explained by the video above.

As far as some can tell, it’s fairly accurate.  This description in USA Today suggests the whole experience was fairly mundane:

As the Google driver hit a button marked “On” on the steering wheel, the laser-equipped vehicle signaled right and effortlessly merged into a lane of busy traffic. The earth didn’t stop spinning. And other drivers didn’t pelt the car with rocks. In fact, they barely paid us any mind as we navigated this Silicon Valley suburbs’s busy streets.

But the real question is not, “can we imagine a world with automated transport?” The real query is whether we can handle automated interactions with everything, including appliances, computers and more complicated transport – such as trucking and public transportation.

The future is becoming automated. What businesses and individuals must do is understand how that automation will change every single thing about their business – and how they can wield automation to adapt to a new world.