Published: May 28, 2014
Google has built a self-driving car from a vehicle that has no steering wheel or accelerator or brake pedals. This is different from their earlier initiatives wherein they tested such system on a car manufactured by an automotive OEM.
Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin revealed the prototype of a radical new self-driving car at Recode Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California. Besides a stop-go button, Google’s prototype relies on built-in sensors and a software system to safely maneuver the vehicle but no controls, steering wheel or pedals as sensors have replaced all of those.
“We’re really excited about this vehicle – it’s something that will allow us to really push the capabilities of self driving technology, and understand the limitations,” said Chris Urmson, director of the company’s self-driving project.
Google says that its self-drive vehicles focus on safety. They come equipped with sensors that remove blind spots, and can detect objects at a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which the company notes is helpful particularly on busy streets with several intersections. It has also limited the speed of its first prototype vehicles at 25 mph.
On the inside, it acknowledges that the cars are “light on creature comforts” — so they may not be the most luxurious or comfortable vehicles ever. All it has are two seats with seatbelts, a space for you to put your belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that displays the route. Check out the cool video of the FIRST RIDE of Google’s self-driving cars.
Google is planning to build about a hundred prototypes, and its safety drivers will start plying the roads later this summer with early test versions of these vehicles that have manual controls. After that, Google is intending to run a small pilot program in California over the next couple of years.
Google recently announced that its self driving cars had covered 700,000 miles of public roads in autonomous mode, and that they were now tackling the tricky problem of busy city streets. The company expects to have them ready for public use between 2017 and 2020.