Friday, May 30, 2014

Google Announces Plans for Driverless Car

On May 29, 2014, Google announced its plans to build, test, and eventually release 100 prototype driverless cars onto city streets-- all by this time next year.

The prototype vehicles are reportedly expected to be two seater, subcompact cars.  The vehicles will reportedly have no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brake pedal.  Instead, the vehicles will use sensors and computing power to move about, with the route set by typing a destination into a map or using voice commands.  The vehicles will also reportedly have special limitations, such as a 25 mph top speed, and will be electricity powered with a maximum 100 mile driving distance before recharge.  The vehicles will not be for sale, but instead provided to select operators for testing.  They will reportedly be built in the Detroit area, but Google has not released the identification of the builders or the cost of the prototypes.

While Google has tested thousands of Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with sensors and cameras to make them "driverless", these new prototypes will go a step further, taking the "safety driver" out of the equation.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is reportedly required to publish regulations allowing the public use of truly driverless cars like the Google car by summer 2015.  These new regulations are apparently what will allow for Google's prototypes to be released onto city streets.

While summer 2015 is the goal to release the 100 prototype vehicles onto city streets, according to Chris Urmson, the leader of Google's self-driving car team, public release of the 100 fleet prototypes "won't happen until we're confident in the safety." 
Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running