May 31, 2014

Google Car Revealed: Self Driving, No Steering Wheel, No Brake Pedals

Google Car

The folks at Google have revealed the prototype of a self-driving car that has no steering wheel or brake pedals. It doesn’t have a rearview mirror, a glove compartment, or a CD player either, but, as I was mentioning above, it’s just a prototype.
Google has built this prototype from scratch and the fun part is that you don’t even have to bother to hold the steering wheel, hit the brakes, or press the throttle mainly because it doesn’t have any of these, but most important because this is what a self-driving car should do: drive itself.
The Mountain View-based giant doesn’t have a name for their self-driving car prototype, but they posted a couple of official photos of the car and a video with the first tests performed outside the Google team.
The purpose of the Google self-driving car prototype is to test new technologies for autonomous vehicles, meant to make the traffic less prone to mistakes caused by the human factor and to help people arrive safely at their destination. Because it was designed from scratch exactly for this purpose the Google self-driving car has no blind spots courtesy of the numerous laser sensors and the 360 degree camera which analyze the environment assisted by computers programmed to avoid obstacles, other cars, or pedestrians.
The Google self-driving is equipped with a button that has double function, Start/Stop, and a display that shows the route and the ETA to destination. The vehicle is powered by an electric motor and has a maximum speed limited at 25 mph (40 kph). The rear seats, the glove compartment, the rear and side view mirrors, and the audio system have been eliminated. Furthermore, the car’s front was built using soft, easily deformable materials meant to minimize the potential wounds caused to a pedestrian or a bicyclist that could hit the vehicle. Google’s engineers mentioned that even the windshield is flexible.
According to the company’s officials, the Google self-driving car is a reminiscent of a gondola lift and has a friendly look meant to minimize the fear of those seeing the vehicle.
Just like the Nexus Android smartphones and tablets sold by the Mountain View-based giant, the self-driving car will not be manufactured by Google, but by one of the company’s partners. Google announced they are willing to team-up with a company open to new ideas in this direction. Until then, the company’s engineers will test the car on public roads, as long as the law allows them. The company’s officials also revealed they are aiming to manufacture about 100 units in the following months.



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