If until now the self-driving cars exhibited by the big G were manufactured by other companies and were only equipped with the sensors necessary for driving unattended, Google now intends to build a driverless electric vehicle from scratch.
The most shocking thing about Google’s own self-driving EV is that it won’t feature neither a steering wheel, nor pedals (for you to push to the metal). Oh, and if you’re looking for the gear shift, that’s gone, as well! Besides a panic button, all that this driverless wonder will include is a start/stop button.
Google is currently working on a fleet of 100 experimental electric-powered vehicles that look pretty much like the Smart made by Mercedes-Benz and Swatch, or like an ultracompact Fiat 500. To be frank, the concept is amazing, even though the design is not exactly otherworldly. If everyone used self-driving cars, there wouldn’t be any accidents of any kind, not to mention that the traffic police would be left with nothing more to do. That’s definitely a nice way to eradicate police corruption in some countries. Now wouldn’t that be amazing (especially the latter part)?
Christopher Urmson, a former Carnegie Mellon University roboticist that’s in charge of the car project at Google pointed out that “We saw stuff that made us a little nervous,” while referring to the tests the company conducted with this self-driving EV prior to showing it to the entire world.
For some people, driving is relaxing, while for others it’s quite a stressful job. Now imagine what it would be like to sit in a self-driving car while multimedia content is displayed on a gigantic screen that covers most of the dashboard.
While self-driving cars won’t take over the world anytime soon, Sergey Brin is optimistic about this new race: “Obviously it will take time, a long time, but I think it has a lot of potential. Self-driving cars have the potential to drive in trains much closer together and, in theory, in the future at much higher speeds. There is nothing to say that once you demonstrate the safety, why can’t you go 100 miles per hour?”
One can only dream that someday, in the not-so-distant future, we could have self-driving taxis that we would summon using our Android smartphones. At the end, we would pay the ride using a credit card, thus extinguishing all the debts.