Imagine leaving your job, getting in the car, saying something like “take me HomePush a button, and relax. Well, this is the idea that Google has been working on for quite some time. Give people the freedom to use the time they spend in their cars to do other things.
Yesterday, Google presented on its official blog, a preview of the first functional prototype of what would be its future automatic car. And when they say automatic, it is because it is totally automatic. Google’s car has no rudder, brake pedal, or accelerator, it has no keys to turn it on, there are none of the levers and buttons we are used to. in cars. This prototype car basically has 2 seats with seat belts, a space to store suitcases, and a touch screen with a single button, from which directions are given to the car about the destination and the route to take.
The Google project would already be going to a prototype testing stage, for which they have reported they would create a small fleet of at least 100 of these vehicles. The participants of this stage would have a preliminary version of the car, which would incorporate traditional manual controls (I suppose as an additional security measure). And if all goes well, in a couple of years they would be moving to a next stage that consists of taking to the street (in California first) some of these vehicles so that they can perform in real environments with ordinary people.
How safe is the Google car?
According to Chris Urmson Director of Google’s Auto Cart Project, it’s pretty safe. The idea that the car does not have any human intervention, is based on the fact that the sensors on board would be capable of predicting any situation even better than a person. In Urmson’s words.
It was very inspiring to start the project with a blank sheet of paper and ask ourselves what should be different about these types of vehicles? So we start with the most important issue: Safety. These should have sensors that eliminate all blind spots, and they should be able to detect objects at distances as far as 2 football fields in all directions. this would be especially useful on heavily congested roads with many intersections. Additionally, we limit the speed of the vehicle to 25 miles per hour.
To follow the progress of the project, google has created a page on Google+ where they will be constantly uploading updates, videos and news related to the project.
Here is a video that shows how the distant object recognition software works a bit, which they are testing in some prototypes that go out to the streets.
This video shows a little more of Google’s motivations behind the project and what it could mean for society, getting their cars to drive themselves
If you liked this Google project, how about you also read about other Google projects: