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Google X's self-driving car currently has a top speed of 25 mph

Google previous efforts in the self-driving car realm have involved retrofitting existing manufactures’ vehicles. For example, Google currently maintains a self-driving fleet that includes vehicles like the Lexus RX 450h and the Toyota Prius.
 
However, Google’s latest self-driving car comes from its own skunkworks group: Google X. Google X, which previously developed smart contact lenses that monitor glucose levels for diabetics, is headed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.


The early electric vehicle (EV) prototypes have a top speed of 25 mph, don’t have a steering wheel, and reminds us of a full-size “Cozy Coupe.” The interior basically consists of two seats, two seat belts, a display screen that shows the preprogrammed destination, and not much else. But of course, this is just the early prototype stage to test the viability of such a vehicle; so future variants will definitely spruce things up a bit.
 


Google’s hope for the future is to take humans completely out of the equation when it comes to traffic accidents. According to Google, 1.2 million people die worldwide from traffic accidents involving motor vehicles. Of those, 90 percent are caused by human error.

Sources: Official Google Blog, Google+



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Hm
By bug77 on 5/28/2014 9:49:00 AM , Rating: 1
I wonder why they left out the steering wheel. If this was a finished product, maybe it would have made sense. But in a prototype, I'd like to be able to override the computer in case it screws up. Because that's why it's a prototype at this point, because the computer is expected to screw up sometimes; or maybe it's already smart enough to know when it screws up and just stop when that happens.
But the progress Google made in a few years of running this program is really, really impressive.




RE: Hm
By Peter-B on 5/28/2014 9:57:03 AM , Rating: 2
The Guardian says that:
quote:
An initial 100 testbed versions would retain manual controls, Google said as it unveiled the car on Tuesday. The controls are needed to comply with the law in California which along with Nevada and Florida allows autonomous vehicles but only if a driver can take charge.


Source: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/28/...


RE: Hm
By arazok on 5/28/2014 12:36:07 PM , Rating: 3
I’d think it lowers costs substantially. It also has no stereo.

I remember reading a few years ago that a self driving car costs Google $140K to equip. I’m sure the costs are down, and will continue to do so, but making these things as simple as possible will help bring it to the masses sooner.

I don’t see anyone buying this for themselves, but I’m liking the thought of filling a city with these things, and putting a credit card reader on the door. Just walk up to any available Google car, put your credit card in to unlock the door, and tell it where you want to go. If you don’t see one in the area, use a phone app to summon one. You could even ban cars in downtown cores and have everyone using these. You free up all that parking and congestion with something that could actually be profitable and pleasant to use.

No more dirty cabbies.


RE: Hm
By bug77 on 5/28/2014 12:48:41 PM , Rating: 3
Well, removing the steering wheel and brakes won't save you much on a car that already has a $140k self-driving system installed. Plus, it's only going to be produced in limited quantity, so this has nothing to do with "help bring it to the masses sooner" either.


RE: Hm
By MozeeToby on 5/28/2014 1:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
A large chunk of that was the ranging systems which went for $40,000+ at the time all by themselves. Now they can be had for under a thousand. I'm sure that isn't the only place technology has matured. Keep in mind, it's not just what costs have dropped, they've also got all the data on what sensors are actually providing needed information; I'm sure they've trimmed the fat off the designs considerably.


RE: Hm
By tng on 5/28/2014 2:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No more dirty cabbies.
That is not likely to happen. Look at what the cab companies did to the web based ride share people.

Just like what the dealership associations are trying to do to Tesla now, cab unions will form and they will grease some political palms and these "dangerous" automatic vehicles will be restricted or pushed out.


RE: Hm
By peterrushkin on 5/28/2014 8:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
YES YES YES!!!!

F those cabbies. Damn, I would actually move to a city if there was this option. Damn! What a dream!


RE: Hm
By zephyrprime on 5/28/2014 1:02:54 PM , Rating: 3
It's just extra weight. Also, steering columns are dangerous - they can cause a lot of injury if you ram into them during a collision. I am aware that collapsible steering columns reduce this danger but it's still partially there. Also, removing it reduces the likelihood of the passenger tampering with the car.


RE: Hm
By MozeeToby on 5/28/2014 1:20:06 PM , Rating: 3
You answer your own question:
quote:
Because that's why it's a prototype at this point, because the computer is expected to screw up sometimes; or maybe it's already smart enough to know when it screws up and just stop when that happens.
They took out the steering wheel to prove that they're confident that it won't screw up.


RE: Hm
By Schrag4 on 5/29/2014 1:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm confident that I won't get in an accident on my way home from work but I'll still wear my seatbelt.


RE: Hm
By Peter-B on 5/30/2014 2:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
You can get into an accident because of others. You have no control over that. However, Google engineers have total control over the car, it's software and sensors.


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