As Google already announced the driver-less cars at the Re/code Code Conference, it has also mentioned that the company will be launching 100 more self-driving prototype cars in 2015. And if you think you can have one, you should know that these cars will not be meant for general public, yet.
At the conference, Google said that it’s exploring the future of automobile industry with completely automated vehicles, as we saw in some sci-fi space movies. Further hinting on those future cars, Google’s current prototype cars don’t have brakes, gas pedals and the steering wheels – just press the “go” button to drive and press the “stop” button to stop, that’s it.
As Google will bring hundred more self-driving car prototypes in next year, it might come with the steering wheels, pedals and brakes to comply with the California’s Department of Motor Vehicles law. These cars will be a 2-seater car and it resembles much ‘bubbly’ like Tata Nano of India, which was once termed as world’s cheapest car. Google’s driver-less cars will be powered by electricity.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin told participants at the conference:
“Sitting inside the car and riding reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable.”
Meanwhile, Google’s first generation driver-less cars was already driven for over 700,000 miles in testing phases, since 2007. And the search giant expects the public version of the self-driving cars will be coming to streets somewhere between 2017 to 2020, if all goes well in its path.
We’re planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls. If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.
You might have think that there are already few self-driving cars available in the market such as Toyota Prius, Lexus SUVs etc. But these vehicles still need human interference in case of emergencies, though they boast related chips, software and sensors. However, Google is aiming at eliminating the human drivers completely.
Don’t expect the technology firm to jump in to the automobile industry, entirely by its own. Either Google could launch the prototypes and develop the technology to partner with already established car manufactures or the company could purchase a car-maker ad bring the fully automated driver-less cars in future.
If you think that Google is the lonely researcher of these driver-less technology, you were wrong. Many established automobile players like Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and General Motors are also working on achieving the self-driving capabilities. Even Tesla has its own plan to achieve 90 percent of success in next two years, which could be much faster than Google’s car.
Now Google (along with other companies too) has to eliminate the initial obstacles such as motor vehicle regulations in order to “operationally” test the cars in public roads. Stay tuned for more updates on this story. Meanwhile, watch the first public review of the technology in the embedded video, below.