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The friendly face of Google's self-driving cars

Google is building self-driving vehicles designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention.

According to Chris Urmson, director of Goggle’s Self-Driving Car Project, the prototype vehicles won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal. Instead, software and sensors will take over the tasks normally executed by a driver.


Source: Google

Google is developing prototypes of vehicles that have been designed from the ground up to drive themselves at the touch of a button

‘The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible—but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button,’ Urmson said on Google’s website. ‘And that’s an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.’

The interior of the first vehicles – whose speed will be restricted to 25mph – will contain two seats, a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop the vehicle, and a screen that shows the route.

Google plans to build around a hundred prototype vehicles and later this summer test drivers will start assessing early versions of these vehicles, which will be fitted with manual controls.

‘If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years,’ said Urmson. ‘We’re going to learn a lot from this experience, and if the technology develops as we hope, we’ll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely.’

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Readers' comments (14)

  • A 4 wheeled drone?

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  • Great, it goes up and down an empty car park in a straight line. Take it to a supermarket car park and see how it gets on.
    Give it a few more years....

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  • Basically, it's a Johnny Cab without the mannequin driver ...

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  • Who is liable in case of an accident?

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  • Google should stick to the control systems. All they need to do is contact Gordon Murray Design and use his BRILLIANT iStream manufacturing methods. Why waste time designing that car? Gordon Murray et al will design a better lighter and more efficient car; yes it can have a smiley face with pedestrian padding. The existing Murray Design's car have a very high crash rating and safety. Google should concentrate on what they are good at, the Linux / Android based software for control & guidance.

    Visit and choose iStrem manufacturing or older website demonstrating car designs etc.

    Disclaimer: - I have no connection with Google or Gordon Murray Design

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  • If it is so good at avoiding accidents why does it need pedestrian crash protection ?

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  • We should concentrate with legislation to focus on technology such as adaptive cruise control, parking sensors etc. to improve driver support

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  • Well I would be delighted to be able to buy one of these. It could for instance drop the kids at school and then go and pick them up. Could it be programmed with suitable greeting messages?

    One could of course enjoy more than a unit of alcohol and yet still drive home without breaking the law and mainting safe roads.

    Also it would be good if it could be fitted with lay flat seats and curtains so that the passengers could go to sleep (or other activities) on longer journeys. This would be great for taking holidays, one could go to sleep in London and wake up in St Tropez.

    Finally at the end of ones life one could be driven to the incinerator without the need for greaving relatives.

    Universal adoption of this technology would probably bring the number of car accidents to near zero.

    I think this is a much needed step to bring this technology to the market. Hoorah to Google.

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  • Am I the only one here who enjoys driving? Although human and therefore prone to making mistakes I derive pleasure from honing my skills and applying them. Is there any greater pleasure than a perfectly timed double-declutch on a down change as one approaches a fast, clear corner? I suspect I'm not the target audience but for those who do not wish to apply themselves to driving, or have other considerations that make them unwilling to take the wheel - isn't public transport a more efficient and socially acceptable alternative? Is opening up a new market for yet greater car production (with all that entails regarding material use, processing, power requirements, etc.), now no longer curbed in even a minor way by only being available to those who are permitted to drive, a responsible act in today's more ecologically aware times?

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  • We have been conditioned over the last 100 years to thinking a car needs to be based around the driver.

    What if that changes?

    Can BMW / GM / Ford etc get their heads around designing a car with no driver? Or should we have a part time driver?

    Should we start with a micro-office, and then see how that adapts to having 4 wheels and a control system.

    @ Stephen Mosley: Most of like driving. Some of the time. Sometimes you want a break.

    As for public transport - maybe these will public transport. You tell your android phone where you want to go to, and one of these comes along - perhaps a bigger one with 4 people in there - all sharing your route, if not your destination.

    A camera gives you safety from other passengers, and your fare is deducted from your Android phone.

    If you have an i-phone, you'll have to wait for the Apple Cart.

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