Imagine driving a car that doesn’t require you to do any of the driving! Google has recently designed its own rendition of a driverless car. It has no steering wheel, and other conventional controls are also obsolete. Only 100 of these cars will be made in hopes that once tested, they can bring this technology to the world ‘safely’.
For many years, Google has been testing regular cars equipped with all sorts of sensors, navigation technology, and computers in order to drive ‘themselves’. However, whilst doing this, they have created their own prototype vehicle from scratch in which no human may at any time, take control (Though there is an emergency stop button…phew!)
The first 100 test versions will have controls in them but in the future, there are hopes that they won’t need them. The controls are needed only so that the laws of California, Nevada and Florida which allow autonomous cars but only if the person ‘driving’ can take control if needed.
The director of Google’s Driverless car project, Chris Urmson, said that the goal of the project was to run lots of tests in California where Google is based. His argument is that driverless cars will eventually improve road safety which is mostly caused by human error. He stated that this development is “an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people”. They also said that it was actually safer taking all controls out of the car because human error did not improve if drivers suddenly have to take over the vehicle. Urmson says, “We saw stuff that made us a little nervous.” After all, its hard enough to fix a problem while driving, if you are paying attention. You either trust the machine, or you don’t.
So what does this concept car look like? The vehicle has two seats; a screen showing the route you will be taking; the top speed is 25mph (40km/h); and the sensors allows the car’s computer to ‘see’ several hundred metres in advance.
[Image via efabula]