I’ve been a fan of science fiction since I learned to read. I grew up tearing through Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, and many other authors, and for decades I’ve been looking forward to taking a ride in a fully autonomous self-driving vehicle. Now, it’s finally happened—probably 10 years later than I originally expected in my youthful ignorance, but I was giddy as I sat in the foyer of the Hard Rock casino, waiting for my test drive.

Prepping for this year’s CES, I received a meeting request from Yandex—a company I had never heard of previously—offering exactly what I wanted. There’s no way I’m going to turn that down. It doesn’t have much to do with PC gaming, of course, except for the fact that most of the deep learning systems used to train these vehicles are powered by PC hardware. Yes, there are Nvidia GPUs and Intel CPUs in the trunk of the car. I’ll talk about the hardware more in a bit, but first, it’s time for my ride.

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