With the success of Google Maps owed in large part to Google’s innovative use of cars as mapping devices, it probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that the tech giant has been looking into developing their very own autonomous car, instead of modifying existing motor vehicles. They certainly use vehicles enough.
So far the images seen of Google’s very own self-driver show a rather goofy-looking car that has no controls, steering wheel or pedals, dropping those in favour of a a stop/go button.
The car was unveiled by Google Co-founder Sergey Brin at a conference in California, and according to Chris Urmson, director of the company’s self-driving project, Google is “…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,”
Although it’s not open roads yet, as some researchers believe that autonomous vehicles might lead to even longer commutes, because drivers won’t need to do the driving.
As the car goes, the BBC had a chance to speak to the development team behind the car, and see some early renderings but you can catch the video of that at the source link.
They also think the car looks rather cartoonish, with no traditional bonnet and with its wheels pushed into the corners of the car.
The car itself should be able to reach speeds of 40km/h at the start of its deployment, most probably to show that it won’t go on a Carmageddon-esque rampage. The front of the car is also fitted with a soft foam-like material to help pedestrians better cope with potential collisions.
The car will use an array of lasers and radar sensors in combination to ‘see’ where it is going, and will use a version of Google Maps designed specifically for it to know where its destination is and how to get there.
Best of all, Mr Urmson says that “We’ll see these vehicles on the road within the year,”. Well, for America at least, we figure.
So in 2015 we might just see whether the autonomous car will revolutionise the automotive world. We don’t know about you, but we’re holding thumbs.
Source: BBC News