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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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RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Mint on 5/28/2014 1:34:45 PM , Rating: 3
There isn't going to be any mandate.

You're just going to have to pass on the lower premiums that auto insurance companies will offer to people once Google proves that their car gets in fewer accidents.

But don't be surprised if you carry more liability in an accident. As technology makes various tasks in society less dangerous, it becomes criminally negligent to skirt those safety measures in the case of an accident. There was a time that kids getting sick and dying was a part of life, but nowadays if you intentionally don't bring your child to a doctor when the same thing happens, you're a murderer.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By MozeeToby on 5/28/2014 1:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
The real fun with autonomous cars starts when you can rewrite the laws of the road on the fly to account for current conditions. There are many, many efficiencies to be gained (both in terms of time and fuel economy) if every detail can be planned and analyzed a thousand times a second by a supercomputer with near omniscience (compared to a human driver anyway).


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Nightbird321 on 5/28/2014 11:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
I personally would just like to sleep on the way to work and back thank you very much. I'll take 1 automated car with full reclining seats. The computer can crawl at 5mph on our crumbling roads.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By ven1ger on 5/29/2014 2:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
Automated cars would be useful in other ways, gridlock may actually be eased if automated cars become the norm. Automated cars may prevent the high number of deaths and injury from auto accidents.

Also, the benefits of automated cars are not just for able drivers, but even the disabled (blind, amputees, etc) could easily get into an automated car and just give the instructions to the car, and get to their destination.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By bah12 on 5/28/2014 3:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it becomes criminally negligent to skirt those safety measures in the case of an accident.

Gotta love the way you Liberals frame everything in your arguments.
Look at it from a different perspective. For most of my life if you got rear ended the person hitting you was at fault. Now with in cab monitors if you cut off an 18 wheeler and hard brake causing him to hit you, given the computer data we have today it is likely he'd have a solid defense.

Once technology is accepted, it becomes harder to create a case of your word against mine. If my goolge car can recreate the data that led to a scenario that a human driver broke the accepted algorithm, then it becomes far harder to blame an accident on the regulated device. "But but I swear your honor I didn't cut him off" is a much harder position to defend legally, because in comes a pile of data saying otherwise.

So I agree they won't mandate it, but they will make driving a normal car so cost prohibitive that they won't have to. Although I agree probably not in our lives.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By bah12 on 5/28/2014 3:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and by cost prohibitive, I don't necessarily mean more expensive. It could be that the savings in time/cost of ownership/fuel would be so much cheaper that a normal car may not cost any more than now, but the alternative method would be to attractive to dismiss.

Take the horse and buggy. Once cars got cheap enough and the infrastructure matured, owning a horse and buggy became cost prohibitive in time, feed, training, and overall effort.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Spuke on 5/28/2014 4:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So I agree they won't mandate it, but they will make driving a normal car so cost prohibitive that they won't have to.
No.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By splatter85 on 5/28/2014 11:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No I wont. Because I just don't honestly see this happening in my lifetime.


You must be 80 years old...


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 8:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
No, I'm only 37.

I remember seeing electric vehicles at the World's Fair in New Orleans when I was like 5 or 6 years old. And even before then, people were demoing electric vehicles. The concept has been around for like a century or something!

Fast forward to 2014, and we're JUST NOW starting to see commercially available and viable EV's sold to the public. Even then, it's a handful of models by a tiny minority of manufacturers.

And you people think self-driving technology is going to be rushed into the market? I mean, open your eyes and take a look at how things work please.

So that's my prediction, take it or leave it. Self-driving cars won't be commercially viable in my lifetime.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By retrospooty on 5/29/2014 10:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
"And you people think self-driving technology is going to be rushed into the market? I mean, open your eyes and take a look at how things work please."

YOu may be right... Or at least not until your are really old. Here is what will happen. You know those scammers that cause accidents in order to collect on insurance... One of them will seek out a self driving car for a new payday, ram into it and sue Google for several hundred million and it will set the whole process back years while the legal permutations are all played out in court.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Mint on 5/30/2014 12:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
You grossly underestimate how rapidly automation is advancing in all sectors of the economy.

EVs have always been about economics. When gas was $2/gal and batteries were $1000/kWh, they had no chance. At $4/gal and $200/kWh, you now have an order of magnitude difference in the metric that determines EV viability, but it took decades for those conditions to arise.

Automated driving isn't dependent on unit cost or external conditions. It's a software problem. Less than $2000 of actuators, cameras, and computers today is all the hardware we need to statistically put humans to shame in this task. All we have to do is figure out the right code and put together the right dataset, and we've only had less than a decade of economical and adequate computation power to work on it so far.

Mark my words: Within a decade, we'll see automated cars that ask for human override less than once a year.


RE: Decisions for fanboys....
By Mint on 5/30/2014 1:02:44 PM , Rating: 1
Cost has always been an issue for safety.

Fire suppression hardware to cover an entire house is very expensive, and the dangers amount to ~$7.2B in damage and 2600 deaths per year:
http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/research/nfpa%20...
Furthermore, fire suppression can only mitigate costs of fire, not actively prevent them.

Driving accidents, OTOH, account for $277B in damage, 30,000+ deaths and millions of injuries per year. Total economic cost is $871B/yr:
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812013.pdf

Divide that per car, then multiply by lifetime, and you're looking at $50k+ without even considering loss of life. The raw hardware already costs a fraction of that.

You're gonna have to come up with a better comparison than fire suppression to downplay the potential safety impact of automated driving.


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