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.
‘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.’