Picture this: a car on the road that has no gas pedal or steering wheel.
This is exactly what the latest prototype of Google’s “self-driving” car entails. An upgrade from last May’s model, this car can independently sense what’s happening on the road, and drive and brake accordingly.
However, since the car doesn’t have air bags and other federally mandated safety features, it can’t drive faster than 40 km/hr and is currently limited to areas mapped by Google. It’s also electric, meaning that after every 128 km driven, it’ll need to be recharged. Google plans on testing twenty-five pods in areas near its headquarters, and will later build up to 100 to test in additional sites.
Current regulations stipulate that cars in California must have a steering wheel and gas pedal, with a driver being able to retain control of the vehicle at all times. But Google is lobbying for looser regulations to make self-driving more widely available, proposing benefits such as eliminating human error to decrease road accidents, decreasing congestion, and transporting populations who cannot drive, such as the disabled and elderly.
Driver-less cars are not new for Google, as they announced that they were working on a driver-less car back in 2010. They ultimately aim to make self-driving cars available to the public within the next five years. They are hoping that auto companies will use their self-driving technology to continue to evolve and adapt to the growing population and overall increase in the amount of cars on the road. The driver-less car revolution has arrived and it should be here to stay!
Image source: Associated Press