Does a self driving car with no steering wheel, brake or accelerator sound like a recipe for disaster to you? Well, you’ve heard right, Google’s self driving car prototype has recently been unveiled. The driverless car means that you’re not in control but don’t panic, the car has a top speed of 25mph to minimise risk, so you won’t be going anywhere fast and it’s safety features include an emergency stop button should you need to brake in a hurry.
The self driving car is literally a computerised car, controlled by sensors. If it’s a bit difficult to grasp the concept, remember that this isn’t a finished product, the company are planning to build 100 of these vehicles for testing with the aim of “delivering this technology to the world safely”. The real self driving vehicles won’t be introduced in the short term future as Google’s immediate ‘teething’ problems are technical, which means, a few details to iron out first so the vehicles are far away from being available for purchase.
Currently the prototype operates in and around California, mainly where Google headquarters are based in the Mountain View area. So far, Google’s prototype vehicles have covered 700,000 miles successfully and without accidents caused by the computer which controls it, proving that by removing the potential for human error could improve road safety.
Unlike any vehicle you may have ever known before, there are no manual controls, no automatic controls, no steering wheel, brakes or pedals, only a start button and an emergency stop button.
The car is designed to transport two people from A to Z without any user intervention. The self driving car is called upon by a Smartphone for pickup at the passengers location with the destination programmed.
The small screen in front of the passengers, whose placement would probably be where you’d expect to find the dashboard or radio in an existing car, displays the weather, the current speed and a countdown animation to take off.
Its compact dimensions and small measurements bear resemblance to a Nissan Micra and a Smart car integrated into one vehicle, Google’s self driving car. With two seats and room for a small amount of luggage, the space capacity may take a bit of getting used to.
You could also use an app to ‘hail a driverless cab’ which is discussed in this article.
Whether or not these self driven cars would require a license may, at this point, be an unanswered question as the driverless vehicles are still in development stage. However, in Nevada, the first self driven vehicle license has recently been approved.
Could driverless cars soon become a reality on the roads? Well, let’s just say that Google’s driverless car would truly revolutionise the way we get around and the current transportation system. Imagine it would be just like a taxi. You’d call to order the car, it turns up and confirms your destination then you can sit back and enjoy the journey!